Much of our research at CORE centres on Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (LAGB) for example, how it works and its complications. Furthermore, the sustained weight loss, which is produced by LAGB, enables us to study the effects of this weight loss on the comorbidities of obesity. Not only direct comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, but also the psychological aspects of sustained weight loss, quality of life, the cost-effectiveness of weight loss and most importantly, the effect of weight loss on mortality.
LAGB consists of a ring of silicone with an inner balloon which is placed at the very top of the stomach, just below the junction with the oesophagus. By sitting there, the band creates a sense of satiety; thereby lessening interest in food and eating. This is the primary effect of the band. Importantly, the extent of the effect the band has on satiety can be adjusted by adding or removing fluid from the balloon. The balloon is connected to an access port which lies on the muscle layer of the abdominal wall. If saline is added to the port, the band tightens on the stomach and the person feels less interested in food. If fluid is removed, the opposite effect occurs. Most of the time, LAGB's can be placed laparoscopically - key-hole surgery, and with a band in place, it is possible to exercise control over appetite. The Lap-BandTM, made by Allergan, is the first and most extensively studied of the LAGB's.
CORE has a close working relationship with the Centre for Bariatric Surgery (CBS), a bariatric clinic. The surgeons at CBS, with the support of a team of health professionals, have now treated approximately 6000 patients since the 1990's. Most of these patients have been followed up diligently, their health and quality of life have been monitored and their outcomes stored in an electronic database. The plentiful supply of patients and the availability of a detailed database on individual and group outcomes have enabled the development and completion of numerous studies that would not have been possible in a different setting.
LAGB has been the facilitator of much of the research at CORE. It is the principal method used to date for achieving weight loss. There are many ways of achieving some weight loss. Many people can lose some weight; some can lose a great deal of weight but almost no one can lose a great deal of weight and keep that weight off for years without a surgical procedure. LAGB is a safe and effective surgical weight loss procedure, but it is simply the tool for most of our research studies. It is the means to the end, not an end in itself.
For further information on the LAGB please click here.