Obesity and morbid obesity are medical conditions that can be very difficult to address without the help of a medical team. A healthy diet and regular exercise are always inescapable steps of treating obesity, but there are all different types of medically-supervised weight loss programs, including behavioral changes, pre-packed meal replacement, pharmacotherapy, and surgery. Undergoing a surgical procedure is usually the more extreme and last measure, but it can be an effective way of treating obesity.
In the United States, there are four main types of weight loss surgeries: gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band (gastric banding), and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Gastric sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent procedure, during which up to 90% of the stomach is removed, resulting in a reshaping of the organ into a sleeve, similar to the size and shape of a banana. The surgery works by reducing the size and capacity of the stomach, impacting gut hormones that influence hunger, satiety and blood sugar.
Average Costs Associated With a Sleeve Gastrectomy
While a sleeve gastrectomy is proven to be an effective procedure, it can also result in severe complications, which are factors that need to be considered. In addition, patients need to consider as well the costs associated with it. Any type of bariatric surgery does not have a fix price, and can depend on factors like location. In the US, the average cost of a sleeve gastrectomy surgery is $19,000, but it can range from $12,500 in South Dakota to $57,675 in Alaska. The differences are explained by the fact that the procedure tend to be cheaper in states where the prevalence of obesity and weight loss surgery is higher, or more expensive in states where the prevalence is lower.
Factors that Influence Sleeve Gastrectomy’s Costs
However, location is not the only factor that can make sleeve gastrectomy expenses vary. Other variables include patient’s characteristics, as well as the surgeon and hospital chosen. Having the surgery at a surgical center is often less expensive than doing it at a hospital. In addition, the estimated costs presented are representative of the expenses without insurance and patient’s health plan, insurance coverage and financing options also alter the price of the procedure. Receiving financial support like insurance coverage, reimbursement or payment plans is not an easy process, but patients can ask the help of a surgeon or attorney. In some cases, insurances only cover the procedure when medically necessary, according to the national guidelines for the care of morbid obesity.
Additional Costs Following Sleeve Gastrectomy Treatment
The expenses associated with the gastric sleeve gastrectomy surgery are only part of the total costs that the treatment will implicate. After the surgery, patients need to start visiting a nutritionist, which can cost from $50 to $100 per visit, and it is added to follow-up medical visits, which can have different prices. In addition, there is also the possibility of medical complications, that need to be treated with more or less expensive methods. The new lifestyle and behavioral alterations conducted during the process also include new costs in needs like gym memberships, healthier food, or new clothing.
Sleeve Gastrectomy’ Costs Compared to Not Having the Surgery
Being submitted to a sleeve gastrectomy is a difficult and expensive process, but it may be helpful to consider as well the expenses related to other types of treatment or to not doing anything. Being obese implicated numerous expenses and it can cost patients an of $1,566 every year only on medical expenses, while morbidly obese patients spend at least $2,845, compared to people with an healthy weight. Additional expenses are associated with extra weight and the health costs increase annually. Taking action earlier is a way of avoiding 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.