Weight loss surgery can be lifesaving to many whose weight places them at risk for a variety of health conditions. While proper diet and exercise are the tried-and-true tactics for sustained weight management, additional solutions may become necessary when the amount of weight to be lost exceeds 100 pounds, when the individual’s body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher, or when medical conditions necessitate emergency weight loss.
According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss surgery, which is also often referred to as bariatric surgery, assists in weight loss by either limiting the amount of food that the stomach holds or it shortens a part of the small intestine resulting in less absorption by the body. Four types of surgeries have commonly been used to address the need for significant weight loss.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
This surgery involves having a small pouch created at the top of the stomach that limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The small intestine is also cut to allow for the food to flow there from the pouch that was created in the stomach. This cut results in less caloric absorption since the food travels through a smaller portion of the small intestine. Healthcare Bluebook estimates this surgery to cost between $31,456 and $99,729 with a fair price of $34,949.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding
In this surgery, a band is placed around the top of the stomach which creates a pouch above the band leaving a narrow opening to the bottom portion the stomach. The band has a balloon that is attached to change the size of the band. The balloon’s size is increased or decreased by adding or removing fluid through an attached piece that is implanted in the abdomen. The band restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time that results in feeling fuller more quickly during meals. Healthcare Bluebook estimates this surgery to cost between $14,927 and $42,405 with a fair price of $16,584.
A sleeve gastrectomy involves removing about 80 percent of the stomach. The portion of stomach left in the body is shaped to look like a tube and holds a limited amount of food to reduce calorie consumption. Healthcare Bluebook estimates this surgery to cost between $13,678 and $54,268 with a fair price of $19,604.
Duodenal Switch with Biliopancreatic Diversion
A part of the stomach is removed in this procedure, similar to a sleeve gastrectomy, and leads to being able to become full quicker. Then, the middle portion of the small intestine is closed off that allows for the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum, and the end of the small intestine to become attached that results in a decrease of caloric absorption due to the body using less of the small intestine. Obesity News Today estimates the surgery to cost between $20,000 and $25,000.
Factors in Costs
Like most medical procedures, weight loss surgery widely varies in price. WebMD outlines a variety of factors associated with weight loss surgeries. The main difference in the surgery cost will be the type of surgery that’s selected. When deciding to undergo weight loss surgery, medical doctors provide consultations to help potential patients determine which operation will be best for their specific situation.
Some medical procedures require a minimum BMI, and thus, depending on a person’s weight, they may not be eligible for all the surgeries that are available. Other factors are also considered to determine weight loss surgery eligibility that can include nutrition history, weight history, medical conditions, psychological status, motivation, and age. Once an individual has been deemed eligible for weight loss surgery, then other factors will guide the cost of the procedure such as geographic location, the surgeon’s expertise, and the difficulty of the operation as well as the actual hospital selected.
Excessive weight can cause many severe medical conditions and have a high possibility of decreasing an individual’s lifespan. The surgeries that are available today for those with extreme weight difficulties can increase overall health, eliminate or minimize severe medical conditions, and increase life satisfaction. Deciding whether or not to undergo weight loss surgery is a serious decision.
However, once the decision has been made, several options are available that have a range of costs. Participating in weight loss surgery consultations to compare prices and utilizing health insurance, when available, allows for the most significant cost savings to permit individuals with extreme weight difficulties to obtain a solution that can lead to much better health.