Dr. Darrin Hansen, with South Valley Surgical answered some of the questions that many people have regarding the procedure.
The Lap-Band System may be right for you if:
• You are at least 18 years old.
• Your BMI is 40 or higher or you weigh at least twice your ideal weight or you weigh at least 100 pounds more than your ideal weight. (BMI is calculated by dividing body weight (lbs.) by height in inches squared (in2) and multiplying that amount by 704.5). CHECK YOUR BMI
• You have been overweight for more than 5 years.
• Your serious attempts to lose weight have had only short-term success.
• You do not have any other disease that may have caused your obesity.
• You are prepared to make substantial changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.
• You are willing to continue being monitored by the specialist who is treating you.
• You do not drink alcohol in excess.
If you do not meet the BMI or weight criteria, you still may be considered for surgery if your BMI is over 35 and you are suffering from serious health problems related to obesity.
The Lap-Band System is not right for you if:
• You have an inflammatory disease or condition of the gastrointestinal tract, such as ulcers, severe esophagitis, or Crohn’s disease.
• You have severe heart or lung disease that makes you a poor candidate for surgery.
• You have some other disease that makes you a poor candidate for surgery.
• You have a problem that could cause bleeding in the esophagus or stomach. This might include esophageal or gastric varices (a dilated vein). It might also be something such as congenital or acquired intestinal telangiectasia (dilation of a small blood vessel).
• You have portal hypertension.
• Your esophagus, stomach, or intestine is not normal (congenital or acquired). For instance you might have a narrowed opening.
• You have or have experienced an intra-operative gastric injury, such as a gastric perforation at or near the location of the intended band placement.
• You have cirrhosis.
• You have chronic pancreatitis.
• You are pregnant. (If you become pregnant after the BioEnterics Lap-Band System has been placed, the band may need to be deflated. The same is true if you need more nutrition for any other reason, such as becoming seriously ill. In rare cases, removal may be needed.)
• You are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
• You are under 18 years of age.
• You have an infection anywhere in your body or one that could contaminate the surgical area.
• You are on chronic, long-term steroid treatment.
• You cannot or do not want to follow the dietary rules that come with this procedure.
• You might be allergic to materials in the device.
• You cannot tolerate pain from an implanted device.
• You or someone in your family has an autoimmune connective tissue disease. That might be a disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma.
While the Lap-Band System is an effective treatment for morbid obesity, the pounds do not come off by themselves. The Lap-Band System is an aid to support you in achieving lasting results by limiting food intake, reducing appetite and slowing digestion. However, your motivation and commitment to adopt a new lifestyle are extremely important for long-term weight loss. New eating habits must be adhered to for the rest of your life. Exercise is an equally important component of a changed lifestyle.
How to Start thinking about Lap Band Surgery
Our office will help you try to get your insurance company to cover the LAP-BAND System, but your participation in this often lengthy process is essential. Here are some of the steps you will need to take:
Review your insurance policy
Check the “Exclusion of Coverage” section for mention of weight loss surgery.
Ask your primary care physician to send
a referral letter to your weight loss surgeon.
The letter should include your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) history, as well as any health problems you have that may be related to your obesity and the medications or treatments you are receiving for these conditions
Retrieve documents that shows “medical necessity”
for having the LAP System procedure.
Get copies of your medical records from your primary care physician and any other healthcare professionals who have treated your obesity and its related medical conditions (such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, joint problems, etc) in the past.
List all your weight loss efforts.
Make a detailed list of the specific weight loss efforts you have tried and failed in the past 5 years (or more). This is necessary to show that you have been unable to achieve long-term weight loss without surgery. Some insurance companies require physician supervised weight loss programs.
Retrieve receipts/records that show your history of attempts to lose weight.
If you have gone to commercial weight loss centers, such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, find your receipts and contact the centers and request copies of your records. If you have undergone medically supervised weight loss programs in the past, obtain copies of your records. If you have never been on a medically supervised weight loss program, begin one now (while you are waiting for insurance approval for your LAP-BAND System surgery) and be sure to keep copies of your medical records.
Bring your health information sheet and fill out the consent form.
If your insurance company requires prior authorization, you will need to fill out a consent form allowing your doctor’s office to release information about your condition to your insurance company. A surgeon will review your file and may request other information or testing to be sure you are an appropriate candidate. This may include psychological evaluations, heart testing, reflux testing etc.
After our office has sent your insurance company the appropriate paperwork to request pre-approval, it could take several weeks before a response is received. Be patient!
While you are waiting to hear, investigate other available options (such as financing the cost of the procedure and making monthly payments) in case your approval is denied.
Set up meeting with Nurse/Dietitian/ and exercise physiologist.
After your surgery has been approved or financed, a meeting will be set up to discuss and review eating habits for weight loss with the Lap-Band, as well as support group meetings and an exercise program.
Meet with a Surgeon.
After you have completed the above and feel ready to proceed.
For more information, please contact South Valley Surgical at www.svsurgical.com. They conduct workshops to introduce people to the Lap-Band procedure.