If you’re considering weight loss surgery, it’s important to understand the potential costs as well as the risks and benefits. Weight-loss surgery can help people lose more than 50 pounds in a year and keep it off for good. But these surgeries carry some serious risks, like getting an infection or blood clots and some serious expenses. You also have to follow strict dietary guidelines after your operation, which many people find hard to stick with.
How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?
Estimating the true cost of weight loss surgery is not as easy as many people think. You can’t just pull up the price of a bariatric procedure and expect to pay a similar amount of money as you see on your screen.
Depending on the type of weight loss surgery you choose, the cost of the treatment could be $5,000 to $25,000. If you choose a celebrity surgeon the cost of the treatment could be considerably more.
Even if you choose one of the cheaper bariatric procedures, going under the knife is an expensive way to lose weight and things are not as cut and dried as they appear.
After the surgery, you will need to take things easy for four to six weeks, so you probably won’t be able to work. That may entail a reduction or loss of income.
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If you are trying to work out your budget for weight loss surgery, you will also need to factor in additional expenses such as consultancy fees and aftercare.
People who have undergone bariatric surgery need follow-up appointments. There’s also a need for nutritional counseling and, possibly, psychological support.
Bariatric surgery is not the end of your weight loss journey, it’s only the start. If you don’t rectify your diet and/or deal with the psychological or emotional issues that caused you to gain weight, it’s still possible to gain weight.
You may also need to budget for one or more cosmetic procedures to remove excess skin. So, if you are serious about having weight loss surgery make sure you are aware of all the costs that will be involved.
From the statistics, weight loss surgery is an option that seems to benefit many people.
The facts show that most patients lose 50% of their excess body weight and maintain it for over a year; furthermore, they are more likely to experience long-term success than with dieting alone.
The cost of weight loss surgery varies depending on factors such as the type of procedure performed, geographical area, and surgeon’s experience level.
A gastric bypass will often range from $20,000-$25,000 while sleeve gastrectomy can be done in the neighborhood of $8500-$10,000.
Common Bariatric Surgery Procedures
Although there are several other options, in the USA the three most common types of bariatric surgery are:
- Gastric Sleeve
- Gastric Bypass
- Adjustable Gastric Band
Gastric sleeve surgery is also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy. So if you hear either term used, it refers to the same thing.
During the procedure, the surgeon removes most of the stomach. The remaining banana-shaped section ofthe stomach is closed with staples.
It’s not difficult to understand how gastric sleeve surgery works. If your stomach is smaller, it takes less food to fill it.
Gastric sleeve surgery may also influence hormones and bacteria in the gut. These changes can cause favorable changes in metabolism and appetite.
Alternative forms of bariatric surgery can produce these changes as well. 
Gastric sleeve surgery usually costs between, $5,000 and $10,000. However, some surgeons may charge more.
Gastric bypass surgery is very popular. The procedure is done in three stages.
During the first step, the surgeon staples your stomach to form a small pouch at the top. This reduces the “usable” stomach size so smaller portions of food can make it feel full.
During the second step, your bariatric surgeon will split your small intestine into two parts and link the lower section of your small intestine to the small stomach pouch he made in the first step.
The first two stages of surgery make it possible for food to “bypass” most of your stomach, along with the upper section of your small intestine. Hence the name “gastric bypass.”
By forcing your food to bypass so much of your digestive tract it gives your body less opportunity to digest it, meaning you absorb fewer calories.
During the final stage of surgery, the surgeon will connect the upper (bypassed) section of your small intestine to a section lower down.
This makes it possible for the digestive juices to flow from the bypassed area of the small intestine to the section that’s still in use, to enable adequate digestion.
The cost of a gastric bypass can vary but you should be able to find reputable surgeons who will perform the procedure for around $23,000.
Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band Surgery)
This is another popular type of bariatric surgery that limits the amount of food the stomach can hold.
During the procedure, the surgeon places a special ring around the top section of the stomach. The ring has an inflatable band that applies pressure to the stomach from the outside.
The band is filled with saline solution and the surgeon can adjust the inner diameter of the ring by injecting or removing some saline solution.
During the procedure, the surgeon places a special port under the skin. This is attached to the band and makes it easy to adjust the diameter of the ring as and when required.
The ring restricts the flow of food from the stomach above the band to the stomach area below. When it’s correctly optimized, an adjustable gastric band provides an effective means of appetite control.
Unfortunately, some people don’t tolerate gastric bands well. So, if complications arise, it becomes necessary to remove the band. This will entail additional expense so having an adjustable gastric band fitted can be an expensive gamble to take.
If you decide to have this type of weight loss surgery, it may cost you anywhere from $9,000 to $18,000.
Does Insurance Pay for Weight Loss Surgery?
Although this did not always used to be the case, many insurance companies offer policies that cover the cost of weight loss surgery.
However, it’s important to do your homework before choosing which type of bariatric procedure to have. Your policy may not cover certain types of surgery.
These days, a lot of insurance companies are willing to cover the costs of gastric sleeves, adjustable gastric bands, and other procedures but it often depends on which policy you choose.
Some medical insurance policies make it clear they do not cover weight loss surgery. Others may specify coverage for certain procedures while excluding others.
So, if you would need to rely on your medical insurance to cover the cost of bariatric surgery, take a look at your policy and make sure your insurance company will pay.
Better still, ring the company, tell them your intentions, and ask if your present policy provides the necessary cover.
What is the Least Expensive Weight Loss Surgery?
A gastric sleeve is generally the cheapest type of bariatric surgery but it’s a good idea to do a price comparison between several reputable surgeons or clinics.
The costs can vary considerably from one clinic to the next.
Gastric balloons are another one of the cheaper options. The average cost is $6,000 to $9,000 but most insurance companies in the USA don’t provide cover for this procedure.
Gastric balloon surgery is less invasive than most other options because there is no need to go under the knife.
The balloon is inserted into the stomach via the mouth. The surgeon expands the balloon by adding saline fluid until it becomes too large to pass from the stomach into the bowel.
The balloon fills the stomach, meaning there is less space available for food. Insurance companies do not favor the treatment because it’s commonly used for aesthetic purposes instead of co-morbidities related to obesity.
However, some bariatric surgeons offer low-cost financing options that can make the procedure more affordable.
What is the most Expensive Weight Loss Surgery?
A gastric bypass is generally the most expensive type of bariatric surgery but it’s one of the oldest surgical weight loss treatments in the world.
Your medical insurance may cover the costs but most insurance companies will require proof surgery is necessary.
Additional Things to Consider Before Choosing Surgery for Weight Loss
There are many things you can do to lose weight. Surgery is a drastic option. As well as being expensive, going under the knife can present a number of risks. The same is true for most surgical procedures.
The anesthesia alone can cause several problems including dental damage, nerve injury, and respiratory depression. 
Some of the other risks bariatric surgery may present include:
- Acid reflux
- Chronic nausea and/or vomiting
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Low blood sugar
- Nutritional deficiencies
You may be able to lower the risks presented by bariatric surgery by getting extra exercise to improve your overall fitness and taking steps to lose weight.
Stopping smoking is another good way to limit the dangers surgery may present.
However, if you are capable of losing weight to make surgery possible, why not continue with your efforts and slim down naturally? Diet and exercise is one of the safest and best ways to lose weight.
Even if you have weight loss surgery, you will still need to change your diet for the better or you could still struggle to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The results of one study shows 50 percent of patients regained weight within the 24 months following surgery. 
Bearing this in mind, it’s best to see bariatric surgery as part of the solution, not the solution.
When it combines with water, it forms a gel that sits in the stomach, satiating hunger and helping you to eat less.
Does bariatric surgery work? It can. For many people. However, there are other options you can try instead.
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