Costs of Bariatric Surgery
The actual costs of bariatric surgery will vary based on the procedure being performed, the surgeon’s location, whether the procedure is being performed in a surgery center or hospital and the method of payment. It is also important to note that there will be pre-operative costs, as well as follow-up costs, which may or may not be included in the quoted total.
The patient’s insurance policy may cover part or all of the cost of bariatric surgery. It is important to speak directly to the insurance company and the practice to find out what these cost may be. Various financing options may also be available.
The costs above may include:
- Pre-op visit and testing fees
- The surgeon’s fee
- Hospital stay or outpatient facility fee
- Dietary plan and follow-up care
- Support groups after surgery
Cash Pay Discounts:
Those paying cash in full, or by financing the procedure through a third party, may be able to negotiate a lower total cost with their hospital and/or surgeon. Largely unpublished, these cash rates can be significantly lower than published rates. Interested patients should speak to their surgeon about cash pay rates.
Costs after Surgery:
Follow up Appointments: These appointments are necessary to make sure that the patient is healing correctly, and later, to ensure that the procedure is producing the desired effects. Most patients will receive their first follow up a week or two after surgery and additional follow ups periodically for a couple years. Beyond that, patients will be expected to visit their surgeon once a year for the rest of their lives. Some follow-up care (usually 6 months to a year) will be included in the cost of surgery.
Band Fills: Gastric band patients require more follow-up as the band will need to be adjusted on a regular basis, especially in the first two years. Band fill costs can vary between practices. However, with the gastric band losing favor, very few bands are being placed today. More on band fills.
Cosmetic Procedures: Many patients will opt to undergo cosmetic surgery to correct excess skin, sagging, and to sculpt the body. These procedures may include a body lift, breast lift or enhancement, tummy tuck and/or liposuction. These procedures are not covered by most insurance policies. A panniculectomy (similar to a tummy tuck, but not including abdominal muscle tightening) may be covered in certain cases.
Vitamins and Supplements: Patients will need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of their lives in order to receive balanced nutritional intake. This is especially true for gastric bypass patients and those who have undergone other malabsorptive procedures such as the duodenal switch. Vitamins and supplements including iron, B12, calcium and protein can be found through online bariatric supplement retailers and health food stores. Learn more about supplementation after bariatric surgery.
Nutritionists and Physical Therapists: Most practices will offer nutritional and exercise guidance after surgery, but using a nutritionist/dietitian or trainer on a regular basis may come with additional costs. Evaluate dietitians and trainers in your area and be sure they have significant experience with bariatric surgery patients.
In order to be sure about the total costs of surgery, it is important that you speak to your surgeon and understand what is and is not included with you procedure.