Many patients who suffer from obesity have severe difficulties in losing weight with behavioral changes alone. Eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity is important with all types of weight loss methods, but in some cases, more extreme measures are needed. In addition to behavioral changes, pre-packed meal replacement, and pharmacotherapy, surgery is also included as a viable medically supervised weight loss approach. There are different types of weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band (gastric banding), and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.
The BPD/DS procedure is based on the separation of the small intestine into two parts, in order to connect one to the stomach, rearranging the digestive system. Due to the surgery, food passes directly from the newly created tubular stomach pouch into the last segment of the small intestine, bypassing about three-fourths of the small intestine, which is a part of the digestive system that carries bile and pancreatic enzymes crucial for protein and fat absorption.
Average Costs Associated With a Gastric Bypass
Bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass does not have a fixed price, but it depends instead on variables such as location of the surgery. In the case of gastric bypass, the total cost is on average $24,000 in the United States. The tendency is to pay less in states where the prevalence of obesity and weight loss surgery is higher or more in states where it is lower. Therefore, in Arkansas, patients may pay only $15,117, while in Alaska the costs can reach $56,820, with variations throughout the country.
Factors that Influence Gastric Bypass Surgery’s Costs
Location is only one of the variables that impact the costs of a bariatric surgery. The patient’s health characteristics also influence it, while the surgeon and hospital chosen also contribute to the fluctuation of costs. Having the surgery at a surgical center is often less expensive than undergoing it at a hospital. A patient’s health plan, insurance coverage, and financing options also alter the price of the procedure. The process to get insurance coverage, reimbursement or payment plans may not be easy, but with persistence and help of the surgeon or an attorney, it is possible. In some cases, insurance may only cover the procedure when medically necessary, according to the national guidelines for the care of morbid obesity.
Additional Costs Following the Gastric Bypass Therapy
The surgery is only the first part of all expenses associated with a treatment with a gastric bypass. Following the procedure, patients will start being followed by a nutritionist, which can cost from $50 to $100 per visit, additionally to follow-up medical visits, which has different prices. There is also the possibility of medical complications, that need to be treated with more or less expensive methods. Adopting new habits and behavioral changes also include new costs in gym memberships, healthier food, new clothing, among others.
Gastric Bypass’ Costs Compared to Not Having the Surgery
Undergoing gastric bypass is not easy or cheap, but patients need to consider the costs associated with other types of treatment or to not doing anything about their weight issues. Obesity is as expensive disease and patients spend an average of $1,566 annually only on medical expenses, while morbidly obese patients spend at least $2,845, compared to people with an healthy weight. In addition, other costs are related to extra weight and the health costs increase every year. Take action earlier may avoid potential costs in the future by preventing other medical conditions, as well as help patients regain confidence and ability to enjoy physical, social, and family activities.