Lap-band producer Allergan reduces the number of approved Lap-band Surgeons
NOTE: In 2013 Allegan Inc. sold it’s Lap-band division to Apollo Endosurgery Inc. We thought Allergan’s “Total Care Program” managed the Lap-band well, and we still live by many of those fine post surgical support standards in the management in our practice. Allergan and Apollo Enodsurgery are both US firms. We think that’s pretty amazing and something Americans should be proud of.
Hello, I’m Doctor Terry Simpson. I want you to imagine this. I want you to imagine a medical device company that starts saying we don’t want as many people putting in our devices. Kind of unheard of isn’t it? Well, that’s what the Lap-band corporation did recently. This is a device that you put around the top of your stomach, which suppresses appetite and it’s a weight loss device approved first in the United States for marketing in 2001. In the mid to late 2000’s this was the most common weight loss operation that was done. Then the recession hit and all weight loss operations began to decline. But something else happened. There were a group of us surgeons who believed strongly that the best way to lose weight is lifestyle with an adjunct of weight loss surgery. Those surgeons began to tell the company, Allergan who owned the Lap-band, you know you’re getting all these surgeons to do all these procedures and that may be great for your bottom line. But here is the problem. The problem is that if they don’t believe in taking care of patients after surgery, if they don’t believe in helping them change their lifestyle, you’re not going to have as good of results with this procedure. Guess what? – the point was proven.
You may have heard of numerous reports of a Lap-band surgeon in Europe saying that 50% of his Lap-bands had been removed. When you ask him why that is he says, “Well it’s because we’re really bad at aftercare.” That wasn’t mentioned in the article but that’s what he said. As a result of this, Allergan made a remarkable move. Over the last year they went from over 2,000 approved Lap-band surgeons listed on their website (lapband.com), they brought that number down to 431. They brought it down to include only those surgeons who really care about their patient’s Lap-band. The surgeons who do the necessary weight loss counseling afterwards. This is not a device that you put in and forget about the patient. The patient has to have adjustments. The patient has to learn how to make good food choices. The patient has to understand why some of the food choices they make aren’t good. Things can get stuck in the Lap-band. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and not every Lap-band surgeon is cut out for that. Many surgeons just like doing an operation and once the patient is healed and through the post-operative phase moving on. But the Lap-band surgeon has to be like a transplant surgeon, where we spend a lot of time dealing with patients after surgery. It was a courageous decision by the people of the Lap-band. To take the number of surgeons and decrease it because they wanted quality care and quality aftercare. I think that it was a courageous decision, and one counterintuitive to marketing. But one that I think will payoff well. Because those who have a Lap-band at least can be assured that the doctor who is taking care of them really cares. I’m Doctor Terry Simpson – good day!