Terry Simpson, M.D., F.A.C.S. says the Lap Band is a very simple device and how it works is very simple.
Dr Simpson: We place the band around the top part of your stomach, because the top part of your stomach is where nerves are that send a signal to your brain that say ‘I’m full’.
Remember when you eat Thanksgiving dinner and you’re on your second or third plate? The food falls to the bottom of the stomach and eventually the food gets to the top of the stomach, and when it gets to the top of the stomach a signal goes to your brain and says ‘We’re satisfied.’ We don’t need to send anymore food down. What the Lap Band does is it sits around the top part of your stomach and your stomach becomes like a funnel. So food stays up there for a while, sending the signal to the brain saying ‘I’m full.’
How do we know how to adjust the band? Inside of the band there is a little balloon. The balloon is attached to tubing which is attached to a port which sits underneath the skin on the abdomen. It’s not anywhere you can see it, it’s not going to poke out, it’s not going to be seen when you’re wearing clothes or even if you’re walking on a beach somewhere, but we will be able to feel it so we can access it. We put a small little needle in it in the office and in that we put saline (salt water). A small amount of saline fills up the balloon and it tightens around that stomach. It squeezes the anatomy. What happens is food stays in the upper part of the stomach longer and you’re satisfied for longer.
High Calorie, Low Nutrient Foods Contribute to Weight Gain
Dr Simpson: How does that work? You’ve all been to the grocery store when you’re hungry, and you know when you go to the grocery store when you’re hungry what gets into your cart. It’s typically not more asparagus and broccoli; it might be more cookies or more junk food. But imagine when you go to the grocery store when you’re full and you’re a typical guy like me. I have a list, I have a mission, I go in, I get the stuff and I leave. It’s the same way when you’re hungry at home.
When you go home when you’re hungry, what do you have to eat? Typically what you grab to eat is not an apple, it’s not a carrot. Typically it’s something out of the pantry that’s highly processed and highly refined. Imagine eating less and feeling satisfied and feeling satisfied for a prolonged period of time. That’s how the band works. Let me give you another example. You’ve probably tried eating Lean Cuisine or maybe you’ve tried some of these diet plans where they send you little meals that come in little tiny packages and you’re eating those and you lose weight. But what’s your first thought when you eat one of those?
The first thought is usually ‘I’m hungry,’ or ‘Where’s dinner?’ If you look at those they don’t have that many calories…300, maybe 400 calories. But you’re not satisfied. Imagine if you were able to eat that and be satisfied, and not just satisfied for an hour or two but for three or four hours….you lose weight.
Losing Weight is a Matter of Simple Mathematics
Dr Simpson: Weight loss is a very simple mathematical formula, calories in, calories out. Your body is a perfect calorie counter. I used to think that whenever someone wasn’t watching me eating a doughnut it didn’t count. Well, it does. Your body is a perfect calorie counter. When your body is full it’s also a lot less tempting to have the other stuff that’s around that’s maybe not so good for you. With the Lap Band you lose weight because two things happen: first, you’re full with a smaller amount of food and second, you’re not hungry between meals.
If you start getting hungry we can adjust the band. It is done simply, easily, right in the office. It takes longer to sit in the office and wait for us to see you than it does to do the actual adjustment. The Lap Band works, it works well, and it works simply. We don’t rearrange your guts, we don’t have you take vitamin shots, and it is very simple.