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  • author MediGence Team
  • person April 27, 2018

Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide: Average Cost, Insurance Provider Coverage

  • In this weight loss surgery cost guide, we have compiled the costs of the three most common bariatric procedures – sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric band. Additionally, it examines some of the factors that control the overall costs, the out-of-pocket expenses, and the ways to make bariatric surgery more economical.

Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide: Average Cost, Insurance Provider Coverage

Sections Covered under Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide:

1. Introduction
2. Types of Weight Loss Surgeries: Know The Difference
3. Cost of Bariatric Surgery Around the World
4. Factors That Control The Cost of Bariatric Surgery
5. Costs Additional To Bariatric Surgery Package
6. Cost of Weight Loss Surgery versus Cost of Staying Obese
7. Is Weight Loss Surgery Covered By Insurance?
8. Internationally Recognized JCI-certified Hospitals For Weight Loss Surgery

Introduction:

In today’s world, obesity is the next man-made epidemic that needs immediate attention of the global health authorities. The urgency of the situation can be understood from the fact that there are more obese adults in the US than overweight adults. Thus to cover all the avenues we present to you a Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide which will provide all the in-depth details of undergoing a weight loss surgery abroad.

Extreme obesity, also known as morbid obesity, puts an individual at an increased risk of a number of health conditions. This includes hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), and other fatal events such as stroke and heart attack.

Incorporating permanent changes in the overall lifestyle becomes the need of the hour in such cases. Diet management, physical exercise, and healthy lifestyle changes are needed to shed weight. However, this approach rarely tends to work for people who are morbidly obese.

For people who are extremely obese, weight loss surgery is a convenient and a promising option to shed extra weight. However, it is not just a surgery. The patient is required to make a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In the absence of such commitment, it is hard to witness the desired results.

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The failure to adapt to the changed lifestyle has a direct impact on the total cost that the patient may have to incur later. This includes the out-of-pocket expenses that the patients pay to manage obesity-related comorbidities.

In this weight loss surgery cost guide, we have compiled the costs of the three most common bariatric procedures – sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and gastric band. Additionally, it examines some of the factors that control the overall costs, the out-of-pocket expenses, and the ways to make bariatric surgery more economical. Lastly, we list some of the best and globally renowned hospitals in the most popular medical tourism destinations that conduct weight loss surgery.

Types of Weight Loss Surgeries: Know The Difference

Weight Loss Surgery Cost: Types of weight loss surgeries
Human digestive systems: a normal system (left), gastric bypass (centre) and lap band (right)

There are three major types of weight loss surgery that obese individuals can choose from. However, the eligibility criteria for each of these types of surgeries differ. For example, people with body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 are a suitable candidate for sleeve gastrectomy procedure and not gastric banding.

The following table highlights the basic differences in the three most popular weight loss procedures – sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, and gastric bypass.

Point of Difference

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gastric Banding

Gastric Bypass

Reversibility

Non-reversible

Reversible

Reversible

Invasiveness

Moderately invasive

Minimally invasive

Invasive

How common is it

Common

Common

Most common

Operating time

45 to 60 minutes

30 to 40 minutes

60 to 90 minutes

Weight loss approach

Malabsorption and Restrictive

Restrictive

Malabsorption and Restrictive

Excess weight loss %

65 to 70 %

40 to 50 %

80 %

Average hospital stay (minimally invasive)

1 to 4 days

2 to 3 days

1 to 4 days

Cost of Bariatric Surgery Around the Worldtypes of weight loss surgeries and their relative costs

Even though the ultimate objective of each type of weight loss surgery is the same, the approach to achieve the desired results is different. Because of the difference in approach, the cost of bariatric surgery is different. Additionally, each type of weight loss surgery requires different expertise, levels of skills, and investment with respect to time. All these reasons also contribute to the cost of each surgery.

The following table highlights the difference in the cost of the three most common bariatric surgeries across some of the major countries in the world.

Countries Types of Weight Loss Surgeries
Sleeve Gastrectomy Lap Gastric Banding Gastric Bypass
India $4900 $4500 $4900
Thailand $24800 $22850 $18650
Turkey $7379 $9085 $8000
Hungary $9045 $8581 $6380
UAE $9750 $9200 $5600
Singapore $16500 $10189 $11400
Australia $35000 $25000 $30000
USA $30000 $25000 $25000
UK $20000 $18000 $12000

It can be seen that the cost of a particular type of weight loss surgery varies from one country to the other. Sleeve gastrectomy cost in India is just $4000 but the same procedure can cost as high as $20000 in the US. The cost of a particular medical procedure depends on quite a bit on the laws that govern the healthcare facilities.

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Factors That Control The Cost of Bariatric Surgery

The following are some of the factors that control the cost of bariatric surgery in a particular country:

  • The fees of the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the supporting staff
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Cost of consumables and other medications
  • Room charges, operation theater (OT charges), and intensive care unit (ICU) charges
  • Pre-surgery lab tests and X-ray charges
  • Quality of gastric band used (if applicable)
  • The choice of country and hospital

Costs Additional To Bariatric Surgery Package

There are some other costs that are not included in the initial fee for weight loss procedure. These may include expenses associated with:

  • Vitamins and minerals: Patients may require vitamins and minerals after the surgery on a daily basis. This is especially true in the case of gastric sleeve and gastric bypass because it may lead to malabsorption of nutrients. As a result, the individual may face severe nutritional deficiency. Daly vitamin and mineral supplement helps prevent this deficiency.
  • Exercise and diet counseling: Exercising and diet management is essential after weight loss surgery. Only an individual who maintains good dietary habits and maintains a minimum level of exercise is able to see the desired weight loss results after the surgery. Bariatric surgery is not a miracle that produced results overnight. It takes a lot of efforts to achieve the desired body type and body weight.
  • Second surgery in case of “staged surgery:” Sometimes the weight loss procedure is staged, that is, it is conducted in stages. Secondary bariatric surgery procedures may cost extra.
  • Body contouring and cosmetic procedures: Massive weight loss after the bariatric procedure may lead to loose folds of skin. Such individuals may require or desire to undergo a cosmetic procedure to lift the sagging body areas. Such procedures may include tummy tuck, breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation. The greater the expectations out of the procedure, the higher is the time required and the cost of the procedure.
  • Follow-up cost: The candidate must visit the doctor for follow-up after the surgery. Such appointments with the doctor cost extra.
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Cost of Weight Loss Surgery versus Cost of Staying Obese

Gastric sleeve cost, gastric band cost, and gastric bypass cost may seem huge at the time of consideration. Even obese individuals may once think of avoiding the surgery to save the surgery and out-of-pocket expenses. However, an individual may end up paying much more than the cost of the bariatric procedure for the management of comorbidities associated with obesity.

According to researchers, an individual may save as much as $3000 and more by choosing to undergo weight loss procedure to manage their weight. For some individuals, management of condition such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension accounts for a greater cost than $3000. Additionally, it has been observed that some procedures can let patients save at least $11000 per year after two years of the surgery.

Obese individuals invest their time and money in availing services that help manage such conditions. This may include purchasing medications, opting for a gym membership, and paying for OPD consultation with a specialist or a dietician. The total expenses per year for such regimen turns out to be greater than the cost of weight loss procedure in a maximum number of cases. Additionally, there is an added disadvantage of reduced mobility and diminished quality of life.

Thus, in most of the cases, weight loss surgery turns out to be a one-time investment. Undergoing the right procedure can drastically improve the quality of life while ensuring an improvement in conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

Is Weight Loss Surgery Covered By Insurance?

coss weight loss surgery without life insuranceCost of Weight Loss Surgery without Insurance

There was a time when bariatric surgery was not that popular and was never covered by insurance. However, today, insurance companies are starting to cover weight loss surgery more than ever.

Typically, insurance policies do not cover any experimental procedures such as duodenal switches and mini gastric bypass. However, a majority of major insurance companies have now started to cover laparoscopic gastric bands, laparoscopic gastric bypass, and gastric sleeves. However, that does not mean that your insurance policy includes coverage for bariatric surgery.

The coverage rules depend on the type and age of your policy. It does not depend on the insurance company. You must check this with your insurance carrier directly by letting them known your member identification number or policy number. If your policy states that weight loss surgery is included, insurance is typically the best way to go as compared to cash payment.

Internationally Recognized JCI-certified Hospitals For Weight Loss Surgery

Country

Hospital

India

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital (Delhi NCR)
Artemis Hospital (Delhi NCR)
Medanta The Medicity Hospital (Delhi NCR)
Narayan Hrudalya (Bangalore)
Aster Medcity (Kochi)

Turkey

Bayındır Healthcare Group
Medicana International
Medipol Mega University Hospital

Singapore

Vejthani Hospital
Bangkok Hospital

UAE

Zulekha Hospital (Dubai)
Zulekha Hospital (Sharjah)
Al Zahra Hospital (Sharjah)
NMC Healthcare (Dubai)

Thailand

Gleneagles Hospital
Parkway East Hospital
Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Which type of weight loss surgery is right for me?

Many factors will determine which type of surgery is the best type for you, including how much weight you need to lose and any illnesses you might have.

Your doctor will do a detailed assessment and discuss with you the best option, including the risks.

What can go wrong?

Every operation has risks. You might pick up an infection, lose a lot of blood, or react to the anesthetic.

There are different specific risks for the different types of bariatric surgery. For example, lap band surgery is safer than gastric bypass. Ask your GP and surgeon what risks do you face?

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What can I expect after weight loss surgery?

You will need to make significant lifestyle changes after bariatric surgery to lose weight and keep it off. For example, you will need to follow dietary guidelines, and you’ll probably take vitamins or other supplements for life. Your weight loss program will also involve increased physical activity.

After the surgery, you’ll start with liquid foods. Over the next few weeks, you’ll change to pureed food, then solid food. Your meals will be much smaller and you may have to stop drinking with meals due to your small stomach.

In some cases, people will initially lose weight but then their body becomes used to the changes made during the surgery and they can regain some of the weight.

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