Cost of Gastric Banding Surgery

Understanding the costs of gastric banding surgery is an important step to preparing to make the decision whether gastric banding is right for you. The overall cost of gastric banding surgery will depend on the location that the surgery is being administered, whether you have insurance, and have the bariatric coverage, and which surgeon you choose.

Obesity prevalence is rising. So also the cost associated with its care. Many bariatric surgeons and hospitals offering such surgeries are always smiling to the banks as the number of people in need of such procedures has continued to increase with the associated disease conditions causing reduced quality of life.

Gastric banding surgery, also known as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding is a surgical procedure performed on the stomach for the treatment of obesity. It is one of many of such surgeries that offer a restrictive effect on the stomach, thus, limiting the calorie intake.

Knowing that obesity originates from genetic predisposition, dietary intake, and inadequate physical activity, there is a tendency to want to treat the condition by dietary adjustment and increase physical activity. This form of treatment is cheaper and readily available to all obese individuals. Studies have however shown that for morbid obesity (BMI≥40) such intervention is not usually enough to achieve a significant and sustained weight loss.

No matter the cost of bariatric surgery, its overall and long term benefit outweighs the cost. Obese patients spend more to on activities of daily leaving than individuals with ideal weight. They also spend on the treatment of the diseases associated with obesity. Examples of this include: paying for antihypertensive and diabetic drugs, the cost of cardiovascular intervention when the need arises, etc.

The cost of gastric banding in the US ranges from $8,000 to $22,000 and states with the highest cost include New Mexico and Minnesota while states with the lowest price include Nebraska and Oklahoma. Outside the US, the cost is relatively lower. This fee covers for the pre-operative investigations, and optimization, the surgery itself, immediate postoperative period and few follow-up visits. It doesn’t cover for the care of certain complications after surgery especially if you are paying out of pocket. The cost of gastric bypass is dependent on many factors, some of which are:

Location

The cost of gastric banding varies from one hospital/state to the other. In the United States, the cost differs from one state to the other. In those states where there is high demand for gastric banding, the cost is slightly higher than states with lower rates of gastric banding. This has been attributed to competition among healthcare providers. It is therefore important to shop around before settling for a price. Your proximity to the hospital of your choice should be considered as the cost of pre-op appointments, and follow-up visits may surpass the targeted price difference.

Quality of the surgeon

Surgeons vary in their skills and experience. Weight loss and other outcomes following bariatric surgery have been found to be dependent on the doctor with the best of surgeon achieving the best result1. Although the higher cost does not guarantee a good doctor, so also a lower cost does not mean a bad surgeon. However, those with excellent track records tend to charge more than others. The extra cost is, however, better than going for a lower cost and experiencing complications that may require additional spending.

Insurance cover

Though the price is higher when insurance pays but the supplementary cost is taken care of by the insurance company. For those with insurance cover, the cost of the surgery is relatively small. In the US the cost of gastric banding can be as low as $3,000 for those with insurance coverage. The additional benefit of insurance is that it also covers the treatment of potential complications following gastric banding.

Presence of complications

Development of postoperative complications may add to the cost of gastric banding. These complications may be those that are non-specific to gastric banding or those that are directly related to it such as band migration, band leakage, and incisional hernia. The management of these complications adds to the overall cost of care, and by increasing the length of hospital stay, there is an increase in the lost work hours.

Presence of associated disease condition that requires optimization

Many of the obesity associated disease conditions require optimization before going for surgery. Obesity itself constitutes a risk factor for post-operative complications. Thus, additional cost may be incurred during the pre-operative period.

Payment Plan By Your Surgeon

Some surgeons have an arrangement where clients are made to pay for the cost of surgery in piecemeal. This may be with or without interest. Therefore, one of the ways of reducing the cost of gastric banding is to seek for such arrangement and compare to know the one that is right for you.

It is also important to prepare for other miscellaneous expenses such as cost of diets after the surgery, gym membership, clothes (as weight loss is associated with loosening of clothes necessitating adjustment or buying new ones).

Gastric banding is a bariatric surgery that has provided succor to obese individuals who have failed to lose weight with dietary and lifestyle modifications alone. Weight loss in obese patients has been associated with improvement in the associated conditions and improved quality of life. The cost varies from the place, to place and many factors are responsible for this variation. However, no matter the cost, the overall benefit of losing weight outweighs the cost of gastric banding.

References:

  • Fischer L, Hildebrandt C, Bruckner T et al. Excessive Weight Loss after Sleeve Gastrectomy: A Systematic Review. Obesity Surgery. 2012;22(5):721-731. doi:10.1007/s11695-012-0616-1.
  • Gagner M, Deitel M, Erickson A, Crosby R. Survey on laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) at the Fourth International Consensus Summit on Sleeve Gastrectomy. Obesity Surgery. 2013;23(12):2013-2017. doi:10.1007/s11695-013-1040-x.