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If you live in southern California, you can’t miss the billboards advertising laparoscopic gastric banding at “1-800-GET-THIN” outpatient surgery centers. They feature happy people who’ve lost 100 pounds or more, and urge you to “let your new life begin” by having a “lap band” inserted.  Fees at these centers are much lower than they are at university medical centers or other major hospitals.

Recently, however, those surgery centers and their owners have been in a lot of trouble.

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