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Meet Dr. Joshua Long:
Our Bariatric Surgeon
A nationally renowned and double-board-certified Denver bariatric surgeon, Dr. Long uses a partnership care model with each patient to tailor care to their individual needs. Patients routinely thank Dr. Long for his warm, compassionate bedside manner. He’s considered to be at the top of his field, having performed over 1,000 bariatric surgeries. Peers praise his technical skill, and he has some of the lowest complication rates among bariatric surgeons in the nation. Dr. Long and the staff at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado consider it an honor to serve every patient with the highest quality of care.
Dr. Joshua Long
MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Bariatric surgery, like many medical practices, is always evolving as we learn newer, safer, and more effective techniques to help you. The other side, though, is that we’ve also learned that some techniques offered in the past are not as effective as we once thought. Procedures such as LAP-BAND surgery have proven to be risky and ineffective in long-term weight loss.
If you suffer from obesity and are considering LAP-BAND surgery as a solution, we encourage you to look at your other options. At the BMCC, our double-board certified bariatric surgeon does not perform LAP-BAND surgery because of its risks. However, we are still committed to your weight loss success and offer several alternative surgeries that are safer and more effective.
The cost of surgery can also be overwhelming. The BMCC offers some of the lowest prices in the Denver area and different payment plan options to fit the needs of all of our patients. If you’re debating your weight loss surgery options, but you’re still committed to taking this step towards a healthier, happier lifestyle, let us help you understand why LAP-BAND surgery is no longer recommended, and what your alternative options are (as well as the associated price).
What Is LAP-BAND Surgery?
LAP-BAND surgery used to be a commonly recommended type of bariatric surgery. However, in recent years, studies have shown that it’s not the safe and powerful procedure many bariatric surgeons once thought it was.
In this surgery, an adjustable gastric band is placed around the stomach like a collar, sectioning off a smaller stomach pouch. The band is connected to a tube that connects to a port through which saline is used to increase or decrease the tightness of the band, and therefore the size of the stomach pouch. This smaller stomach pouch restricts the amount of food a patient can eat, thus helping them lose weight. However, while this sounds good in theory, in practice LAP-BAND surgery leads to ineffective weight loss and substantial risk for patients.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With a LAP-BAND?
Like any bariatric procedure, you cannot expect to lose a large amount of weight if you just depend on the surgery alone. Patients need to commit to healthier lifestyle habits such as a well-balanced diet and a regular exercise program. With these changes, along with surgery, patients have been reported to lose up to 35-40% of their excess weight. However, many patients do not lose this much weight, representing the most common reason for band failure.
This weight loss percentage is significantly lower and much less durable than that of other bariatric surgeries, which is one reason that LAP-BAND surgery is no longer considered a reliable option for long term weight loss. There are also several risks that accompany a LAP-BAND procedure, some of which can result in the removal of the adjustable gastric band.
How Many Years Does a LAP-BAND Last?
This is just one of the many risks that comes with LAP-BAND surgery. Studies have shown that 25-40% of patients who undergo LAP-BAND surgery require a repair or removal procedure within five years after the initial surgery. Removal of the band (without revision to another bariatric surgery) almost universally results in full weight regain, which can be discouraging to a patient who is trying to lose weight and keep it off.
Problems that occur with LAP-BAND surgery that cause the need for removal are:
- Band erosion: This occurs when the gastric banding erodes through the stomach wall into the inside of the stomach. This causes some patients to feel hungrier because the band is less restrictive. In other patients it can also lead to life-threatening progressive infections.
- Band intolerance: The adjustable gastric band is a foreign object, and the patient’s body may not respond well to it. Symptoms of band intolerance are progressive nausea and vomiting or severe reflux.
- Port or Band Infection: Any infection to the band or port may require band removal.
- Gastric Band Slippage: There is always the risk that the band can slip out of the correct place on the stomach. There are surgical options to fix band slippage; however, even with the fix, once a band has slipped it is very likely to occur again.
If you or a loved one have had LAP-BAND surgery, or are considering it as one of your surgical weight loss options, we encourage you to read through the full list of risks and complications here.
Are you interested in bariatric surgery in Denver, but don’t want to deal with the above complications? Make an appointment with our friendly medical center staff for a safer, more effective bariatric surgery.
How Much Does LAP-BAND Surgery Cost with or Without Insurance?
The average LAP-BAND surgery cost out-of-pocket is around $14,500. However, this cost doesn’t include the price of follow-up surgeries or procedures to handle complications; or the cost of removal and revision surgery. When these additional LAP-BAND costs are factored in, LAP-BAND surgery is one of the most expensive bariatric surgeries. For these reasons the LAP BAND is no longer considered a safe and effective weight loss option and is no longer performed at most centers including the BMCC.
We only offer LAP-BAND removal or revisional surgery at the BMCC. Our cash-pay option for LAP-BAND removal is $5,400. With some of the lowest prices in the Denver area, our prices for revision surgeries are also lower than the average cost.
- LAP-BAND to duodenal switch revision: $21,560
- LAP-BAND to gastric bypass revision: $20,150
- LAP-BAND to sleeve revision: $13,750
Most insurance companies cover all or some of the cost of LAP-BAND surgery, as well as the cost of LAP-BAND removal or revision procedures (beyond your deductible). Medicare and Medicaid cover both types of surgeries, however, certain requirements must be met in order to receive coverage. We accept most Colorado and national health insurance providers, as well as Medicare. We currently have a waitlist for Medicaid patients.
What Are My Other Weight Loss Surgery Options?
If you are struggling with obesity and looking for your best chance for long term weight loss, we offer three powerful bariatric surgeries: gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, and duodenal switch surgery. These procedures are proven to be safe and effective, and, in some cases, can serve as cures for certain weight-related health conditions.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery: Also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, this surgery is best for people who suffer from type II diabetes and want a long-term solution. You can expect to lose up to 65-90% of your unhealthy body weight*. However, if you suffer from vitamin/mineral deficiencies or Chron’s disease, this is not the best weight loss surgery for you. Cash-pay cost at the BMCC: $18,650
- Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Sleeve gastrectomy surgery is best for patients that want to lose 60-80% of their excess weight and who also suffer from: vitamin deficiencies, health issues that require anti-inflammatory medication, or Chron’s disease. However, for patients who suffer from type II diabetes, have a BMI>50 and are looking for the best long-term solution, or who deal with chronic heartburn, this surgery is not a good option. Cash-pay cost at the BMCC: $12,250
- Duodenal Switch Surgery: This is the best option for patients with type II diabetes (it’s up to 98% effective). This is also a good option if you have a BMI >50 and know that you can commit to a life-long vitamin and protein supplement program. For those who suffer from Chron’s disease, vitamin deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, or severe reflux, another form of bariatric surgery may be best. Cash-pay cost at the BMCC: $20,060
All of these options are performed using the latest minimally invasive techniques, which means they require less recovery time and hospital stay, and results in less pain and scarring.
What Are My Payment Options for Other Bariatric Surgeries?
Our affordable costs are listed as out-of-pocket cash-pay prices. So, if you don’t have health insurance, or your current insurance provider doesn’t offer bariatric surgery coverage, you can pay cash. Our prices are transparent so the cost you see is the amount you will pay. Our prices are also designed to be all-inclusive, meaning our costs include preop care, education, surgery, anesthesia, hospital stay, and three months of postop care.
If you have health insurance and choose to pay through your insurance provider, the final cost of your surgery will depend on your insurance plan, deductible, and copay.
Affordable Weight Loss Is Still An Option
If you were considering LAP-BAND surgery as a weight loss solution and are discouraged by learning that it’s ineffective and unsafe, don’t worry. Affordable weight loss is still possible. We just care about you and your future life enough that we will recommend a different more effective and safer type of surgery. The three bariatric procedures that we suggest are safe and effective and will be a much more powerful step in your weight loss journey. And, don’t just take our word for it, our patients’ results are proof that with the right medical advice, you can achieve your weight loss goals.
Bariatric surgery is not a magic cure, and patients still need to stick to a strict weight loss program after surgery, but surgery can level the playing field in your battle with obesity. Many of our patients lose 100-200 pounds and keep it off—imagine how that would feel. That life is very possible, even without LAP-BAND surgery. Contact our Denver office today to learn more about your bariatric surgery options, and let us help you continue on your weight loss journey.
This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: February 12th, 2021
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