New band for obesity treatment

A new procedure should help to make obesity treatment much less uncomfortable for patients.

Conventional gastric banding involves placing an adjustable silicon ring around the stomach, thereby reducing the amount of food that can be consumed before the patient feels full.

The band has to be adjusted every few months by inserting a three to four inch needle into the abdomen in order to fill the tube with salt water.

Dr David Ashton, from the Healthier Weight Centre in Birmingham, told the Daily Mail: "It's a procedure many patients don't like because it can be uncomfortable and painful."

However, a new EasyBand has now been developed which can be adjusted electronically, removing the need for repeated invasive procedures.

Instead of salt water, the band contains a metal loop with a computer chip. When the band needs tightening, the doctor simply presses a button on a handheld device which sends a signal to the computer chip.

This then triggers the band to be tightened, reducing the size of the stomach without the need for a salt water injection.

Dr Ashton told the paper: "There are no needles, no discomfort and it takes just a minute or two to perform. And it's accurate to just one tenth of a millimetre," he added.

The demand for obesity treatment is growing in the UK, with around 4,500 appetite-reducing operations now performed each year.

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