The New REALIZE Band
Technological products of all kinds seem to change rapidly. The makers of medical devices also know that in order to remain competitive, they need to continue to innovate. So we see changes in all kinds of medical devices year after year and these are almost always for the better.
I recently began working with the new REALIZE bands. The new innovations really have more to do with the surgeon than the patient. But they do represent improvements and make the band easier to work with, improve its handling, and add a couple of small features that have to do with the ergonomics for lack of a better term when the surgeon is working with it.
The new features involve a type of pre-curve in the band structure itself. This is a feature that has been present with the Lap-Band for many years. What this means is that instead of resting flat if you set it on the table, it assumes a curved shape with the curve bending inward toward the balloon side. It is a subtle feature, but it does help the surgeon with placing the band because the band “wants” to assume that curved shape already and it takes less coaxing and manipulation by the surgeon in order to place it in the proper position. Similarly, the new locking or clasping mechanism of the band allows a bit easier placement by the surgeon. It does appear the fill volume may change somewhat and I will report more on this as we gain more experience with it.
I continue to use both the Lap-Band and the REALIZE band, as does our group. Both bands appear to work quite nicely. They are both I think very well designed and easy for the surgeon to place. As far as I can tell so far from an anecdotal experience, there has not been any striking feature that has stood out among patients, doctors or providers that distinguishes the bands. At some point down the road we will report on longer term results, weight loss results and other findings, but having worked with hundreds of each band, there is not a strong feature that stands out or that patients have remarked upon distinguishing the two.
These small but incremental positive improvements or steps in improved design change continue the evolution towards better and better bands.