Companies marketing a gastric lap-band weight loss surgery have been told to pull ads considered misleading by federal regulators.
Billboards have appeared around San Diego County promising miracle weight loss with lap-band surgery.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it had warned eight surgical centers and the California-based marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN LLC about what it considers misleading advertising of the surgery.
The billboards and bus signs show thin men and women claiming they lost massive amounts of weight and gained control of their lives after the lap-band surgery the FDA announcement states.
In the surgery, an inflatable ring is wrapped around the top of the stomach which restricts what people can eat.
However, some of the side effects are not mentioned in the ads. They include:
- nausea and vomiting
- difficulty swallowing
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- upset stomach or pain
- stretching of the stomach pouch or esophagus
- moving of the gastric band, requiring another surgery to reposition it
- erosion of the band through the stomach wall and into the stomach, requiring another surgery
“FDA’s concern is that these ads glamorize the Lap-Band without communicating any of the risks,” Steven Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in a written statement.
“Consumers, who may be influenced by misleading advertising, need to be fully aware of the risks of any surgical procedure.”
The companies have 15 days to pull the ads or correct them according to the FDA
First approved only for people suffering from severe obesity, the FDA later approved lap-bands for people who are much less obese.