What is the Cost of Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery?

June 17, 2009 · Filed Under Weight Loss Surgery · Comment 

Anybody who is considering lap band surgery will probably have a list of questions and fairly high up on that list will be the question of cost. Sadly, while this may seem like an easy question, it is not quite so easy to answer.

The cost of having lap band weight loss surgery will depend upon a whole host of factors but the first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you qualify as a candidate for surgery. Deciding that you need or want lap band surgery is one thing but when it comes to paying for surgery whether or not you meet the criteria of the National Institutes of Health is an important factor.

In most cases, if you have a body mass index of 40 or more then you will meet the requirements of the NHI. You may also qualify if your BMI falls between 35 and 39 providing you also have a serious medical problem which is directly associated with your weight. The list of related medical conditions is long but includes things like hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol.

If you fail to meet the requirements of the NHI then you will have to meet the full cost of surgery yourself.

The next thing which you have to examine is whether or not your health insurance policy will pay for some or all of the cost of your surgery. It is frequently said that insurance companies will not pay for weight loss surgery but this is not the case and health insurers are increasingly funding either all or some of the bill for lap band surgery. Your insurance company will however only meet the cost if you meet the NIH requirements and your doctor certifies that your surgery is a medical necessity.

Okay, so what does surgery cost?

The cost of surgery is complicated as you need to factor in not just the cost of surgery itself but the associated costs which will vary widely depending upon where your surgery is performed and by whom. Costs will include things like pre-surgical tests, surgeon’s fees and hospital fees. In addition, there will be various post-surgery fees for services like follow-up medical visits, psychological support and nutritional counseling.

If surgery is done in the US then you can expect to pay anywhere between $17,000 and $30,000 for your surgery and post-operative care providing you do not run into any complications. While significant complications are uncommon they do crop up every so often and costs can then rise considerably.

If surgery is done outside of the US then the cost will be lower and you can expect to pay between $11,000 and $16,000. Lap band procedures have been carried out for some considerably time in Europe and Australia where results have been excellent and is also now being increasingly performed in countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, Canada and the Far East.

Should you be contemplating traveling abroad for weight loss surgery then you must add in the cost of travel and post-surgical care which can considerably increase the overall cost but still be less expensive than undergoing surgery at home. You also need to check with your insurance company if applicable because it is unlikely that your insurer will fund the cost of surgery which is carried out abroad. Lastly, you should note the fact that you may well have very much less legal protection if anything goes wrong with surgery away from your home country.

As a general rule having your surgery at home is likely to be your best and safest option but if the difference in cost is big enough in your own case then you may well consider that it is worth taking the risk.

GastricBypassFacts.info provides further information on lap band weight loss surgery and the cost of lap band surgery.