New research has been released by Australian obesity experts that show gastric banding surgery can save lives.
At the international conference on obesity in Sydney there were three studies which showed that there was up to 75 per cent reduction in mortality rates in obese people who had the surgery.
A small adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach for the procedure to restrict the amount of food that the patient can consume. This is also known as gastric banding surgery.
Associate Professor John Dixon, from the Centre of Obesity Research and Education at Monash University said, 'This is the first time that any form of weight loss treatment has been able to show that weight loss therapy saves lives.'
In three studies, 10,000 obese people who had the surgery were compared with another 10,000 obese patients.
It was found that those who had the surgery were actually living substantially longer. In addition they were found to be less likely to die than those who were in the general community who were the same age and weight problems.
According to weight loss experts gastric banding surgery is not recommended as a first option for people trying to lose weight. Rather it is designed for obese people who are suffering health problems as well.
Professor Gary Wittert from the University of Adelaide said, "If you are 150 kilos and not very tall and you have diabetes and it's hard to control and you have problems with your knees and its difficult to walk, this is a procedure that has been shown to be lifesaving."
Although the procedure can cost several thousand dollars and is not covered by Medicare doctors say you cannot put a price on your life.