Author Archives: Dr Terry Simpson

About Dr Terry Simpson

Dr. Terry Simpson is a Phoenix weight loss surgeon. He encourages his lap-band surgery patients to learn to cook and adopt healthier lifestyles. His goal is to use culinary medicine to keep patients out of his operating room. in 2017, Dr. Simpson became a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist.

Is Lap-Band the Right Weight Loss Surgery?

The Lap-Band went from the most common weight loss operation to the least common of the three weight loss operations. Does that mean the Lap-Band is a bad operation? Well, for some it is, but it really is the most underutilized weight loss surgery.

Reasons why the lapband may not have worked for people are several:

  • There is a group of people who have excess scar tissue around their band. For them, the band does not work as well and they would do better with a gastric sleeve
  • For any who do not change their eating habits. No matter what weight loss operation you have, from the most aggressive to the band, if you do not change eating habits you will not maintain the weight loss. This does not mean “diet” for weight loss, but it does mean not eating excess calories. It means eating for health and not for weight loss. For some this means changing everything, but thankfully not for most
  • They had no follow up with someone who knew how to adjust the band. The band is like a fine automobile. It needs some maintenance and if you don’t adjust it properly then it won’t suppress appetite. People don’t have the good effects of the band

For most, the Lap-Band represents a better alternative than “diet and exercise” in that it allows a person to have better appetite control and weight loss where it could not be had before. But instead of constant dieting, the band is used as a tool to make fundamental changes in eating (small changes to eat better) and enjoy food instead of making food about diet.

For those who have diabetes, 75% who had been diagnosed with diabetes within two years before the band can get off all their diabetic medications.

Some people don’t like the idea of having a part of their stomach removed, or their intestines re-arranged, but still need weight loss. For them the band is a great alternative.

It costs just a bit more than a gastric balloon – and consider this – a balloon is designed to be in your body for six months then it is done. A Lap-Band can stay in your body for years. The balloon is not covered by insurance plans, and the Lap-Band often is – and even if the band is not covered, the cost is only $1000 more than the band.

Some use the Lap-Band to help them change the way they eat, lose the weight, and then have it removed. We find this with people who are in the working world. They gained the weight when they ate poorly by eating out a lot, and now they want to lose weight and change. After several years when they have a new way of eating they can have the band removed and maintain that weight.

The band is a good choice for those who don’t want to worry about a small stomach that might not allow them to drink the amount of fluid that they need to keep hydrated.

The Lap-Band is an intelligent weight loss choice for a specific group of people. We have them to be:

  • Willing to critically look at how they eat and change
  • Use the Lap-Band to help them change over time
  • Realize that they can eat almost anything and not feel deprived
  • Willing to come in and have the band adjusted, even if they feel they didn’t do well (it isn’t about judgement, it is about learning)

Lap-Band is a Great Choice for Weight Loss Surgery

The Lap-Band remains a great choice for weight loss. Here is why:

(a) It is an outpatient procedure
(b) It is the safest of all weight loss procedures
(c) It doesn’t remove bits of stomach
(d) You can always take it out if you don’t tolerate it
(e) It can last a lifetime

You may have heard that “no one” does the Lap-Band anymore. Or that you have a friend who had a “Lap-Band” and they didn’t do well so they said that the “Lap-Band failed.” Or heard some weight loss surgeon say that they “take out more Lap-Bands” than they put back in. So I want to address each of those and then answer any questions you might have.

The Lap-Band Failed

The band didn’t fail, if someone regains weight it isn’t the fault of the device. The Lap-Band is a tool, and like any tool you have to use it. If your friend ate junk, it doesn’t matter what weight loss operation they had – they will regain weight. The band works well as a tool, but it won’t tell you when to stop eating or what food you should eat. That is your job. You are an adult, the band will reinforce good choices, but it won’t make those for you. The Lap-Band is a great operation for an adult, not for someone who wants their operation to make their choices. You remember when you were a teenager and your parents made your choices? What happened when you made your choices? Same with the band – if you want an operation to make your choices then the band isn’t for you. Neither, by the way, are any other operation. What is for you is a need to grow up.

Surgeon says they take out more Lap-Bands than they put in
About five years ago the maker of the Lap-Band took a whole bunch of surgeons off their registry. These surgeons didn’t support the band – they didn’t see patients regularly for adjustments or care. That was a good move. The only person you want placing your band is someone who has a practice that is dedicated to supporting the band. That was not the case. When you read of surgeons who only see patients every four months after the band it is a recipe for failure.
One well-known weight loss surgeon bragged that because of the downturn in bariatric procedures his practice was kept alive by taking out lap-bands and converting people to other operations. Sometimes a band can “slip” – although it really doesn’t slip, but that is another story. That can be fixed, the band doesn’t have to be removed. But surgeons make more by removing the band and converting to another operation.

There are a number of dedicated Lap-Band practices. With surgeons who support the band and will help you learn to live with your band and lose weight. But if the band isn’t for you, if it doesn’t work – it can be converted to another operation.

Compare the Lap-Band to other weight loss procedures:

Compared to the gastric balloon — these are only meant to be in the stomach for six months. The Lap-Band will suppress appetite for your lifetime.

Compared to Prescription drugs – these are not meant to be a permanent solution, but they are temporary. The band will be there and suppress appetite on a permanent basis.

Compared to HCG. HCG, and RM3 have been shown, in great studies, to not work. The band has been shown to work.

Compared to other operations for weight loss. It is the only FDA approved for low BMI patients (those with less than 100 pounds to lose). It is safer and in the hands of a Lap-Band practice that will dedicate time and resources, the band works well. The band can always be adjusted, once you have had your other weight loss operation you are done.

Want proof? Consider Jineane Ford – who had her band placed in 2006 and still looks great years later. Former Ms USA, and former television anchor, she tried every diet and exercise program and only the Lap-Band has helped her keep off her weight and get off blood pressure medications.

before after lapband photos

Farewell to True Results

We are happy to help patients who were banded by True Results whether it is to:

(a) Relearn how to use the band and get adjustments as needed
(b) Remove the band and convert to a gastric sleeve to continue with weight loss
(c) Evaluate where you are with your Lap-Band journey and decide if this is best for you

True Results closed their doors a couple of years ago without much notice to their patients. So it will be difficult to even get records of your operation.

We will work with your insurance company, if they cover the band and taking care of it- or we will give you the most competitive price in the valley to help you.

Sometimes True Results did not use insurance benefits and some insurance companies will exclude the Lap-Band from their coverage.

Our model is different than True Results – I do all the adjustments, unless I am out of town and there is an emergency.

In our first consultation, we will:

Get an x-ray of your band so we can see if there are any anatomic issues with it. We do this x-ray in our office

Adjust your band, if needed

Discuss other weight loss surgery options, if you would like.

All for one low fee of $250. Follow up adjustments are typically $150 unless they are covered by insurance, then they are the co-pay and or deductible based on your policy.

Let us know if we can help.