updated 2/16/2011 6:43:10 PM ET 2011-02-16T23:43:10

Cosmetic drug and device maker Allergan Inc. says it has received approval to market its stomach-shrinking Lap-Band to millions more patients who are less obese than those currently using the device.

The Food and Drug Administration expanded approval to patients with a body mass index between 30 and 40 and one weight-related medical condition, such as diabetes. Patients must also have previously attempted other weight loss strategies, like diet and exercise.

Allergan said roughly 37 million American patients meet the new criterion for the device. The adjustable band has been available in the U.S. since 2001.

A ring is placed over the top of the stomach and inflated with saline to tighten it and restrict how much food can enter and pass through the stomach.

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