Wednesday April 01, 2015
Increase in the Number of Weight Loss Surgeries
According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS), the number of weight loss surgeries performed in the United States increased from about 16,000 in 1992 to about 220,000 in 2008.

Cost of Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgeries are not inexpensive to say the least. However, the money which goes into paying for a surgery of this type is being put to good use if it improves the individual's health and quality of life. With that said, it is extremely important to find out all there is to know regarding the cost and financial issues well in advance of the weight loss surgery taking place.

The Cost of Weight Loss Surgery

Qualified and experienced bariatric surgeons may cost more, but they also have better results.

Cost and Overall Price of Weight Loss Surgery

The first thing an individual must inquire about with regard to cost is how much the entire procedure will cost from start to finish. One should ask whether office visits before the procedure and follow-up visits after the procedure are included in the overall price. In addition, it is important to know what charges will be billed on the part of the hospital and what charges will be billed on the part of the doctor's office, as these may often be separate.

Once the cost of the procedure and all of the visits pre and post-surgery have been stated, the next question to ask is whether they accept health insurance and if the patient's health insurance company covers a procedure such as this one.

Bariatric surgery insurance coverage will vary from company to company and plan to plan so it is important to inquire not only with the hospital and doctors office but with the insurance company as well.

Lastly, one should find out whether or not the weight loss surgery can be paid for in the form of installments. Having installment payments available can help the individual budget their money and better afford the cost of weight loss surgery. Although most medical facilities request the money upfront, they can usually put patients in touch with patient financing companies that offer medical loans so that the patient can make payments over time.

What is the Cost of Weight Loss Surgery?

While there are many different weight loss procedures, the cost of bariatric surgery averages about $25,000. Depending on a combination of factors, costs have been stated as ranging from $10,000 to $40,000. Typically, the gastric band surgery cost is much less than the gastric bypass surgery cost. While cost can vary between procedures, cost also varies for the same procedure from person to person based on their individual circumstances. The complexity of the surgery, the amount and type of follow-up care can differ between patients, as well as cost differences between geographical locations and from doctor to doctor.

Many factors contribute to the cost of weight loss surgery, including:

  • Type of procedure
  • Patient health status
  • Geographic location
  • Bariatric surgeon fee
  • Facility fee
  • Level of pre-op care
  • Level of post-op care
  • Complications

When comparing costs, it is necessary to account for all factors that contribute to the overall cost of weight loss surgery. Some weight loss surgery providers will quote one all encompassing cost, while other providers will quote surgery cost only, and not take into account pre-op tests, hospital charges, follow-up care, counseling appointments, but prefer to bill items separately.

Low cost weight loss surgery outside of the United States?

If you are living in the United States, you may have seen weight loss surgery offered in other countries at much lower prices than you have seen in your local area. These lower costs are usually a result of having lower overhead costs. However, when searching for a weight loss surgeon, it should not just be about finding the lowest price.

Whether you are considering a bariatric surgeon in the USA or out, you should make sure that the surgeon is experienced and licensed to perform the type of surgery you are having. There are great doctors outside the USA and there are bad doctors in the USA, but it may be more difficult to find out this information for out of the area doctors and there may not be the same legal recourse outside of the United States if there is a problem.

Another consideration is whether or not your insurance company will cover the surgery outside of the country.

The total cost involved is also more than just the cost of the surgery. When considering weight loss surgery in Mexico or overseas, in addition to travel costs for you and at least one travel companion (which is recommended), there will still be costs for pre-op tests and the continuing follow-up care that is necessary with this type of major surgery.

It may be that out-of-country weight loss surgery is a good option for you, but it is important to ask the clinic questions on what is covered and not covered, ask about experience and credentials of the bariatric surgeon and medical facility, seek recommendations and testimonials. Researching for information is necessary so that you can make an informed decision and be comfortable with whatever option you choose.

Consumer Guide to WLS

Bariatric Surgery

Choosing a Surgeon:

Key Factors to Consider

When choosing a doctor for weight loss surgery, patients should take into account the training and experience of the doctor, the level of follow-up care offered to patients after surgery, and the hosting of a support group.

These key factors will greatly influence your overall results with weight loss surgery. Qualified bariatric surgeons have better surgical outcomes; patients who participate in nutritional counseling and behavioral therapy are more likely to have successful weight loss results.

Questions to Ask

Questions to ask a prospective bariatric surgeon include:

  • Are you a board-certified surgeon with specialized training and experience in bariatric surgery?
  • Do you offer a multidisciplinary team for care after bariatric surgery?
  • Do you host a support group for weight loss surgery patients?

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