What Does Lap-Band Surgery Cost?

Finding The Cost of the Lap-Band Surgery Today

These days, many overweight Americans are looking into weight loss surgery. Different surgeries come with different price tags, but you can generally expect a weight loss surgery in the United States to cost between $17,000 and $35,000.

What Will I Pay For Gastric Banding?

The adjustable gastric band (known in the United States as the Lap-Band or the Realize Band) generally costs anywhere from $17,000 to $30,000. Generally this price tag will cover the operating room fee, your surgeon’s fee, all of your pre-op labs, tests, and x-rays. It should also cover your post-op appointments with your surgeon, but it may not include your fills (also known as adjustments). Your surgeon’s office may offer additional services like nutrition counseling, personal training, or behavioral counseling. You may also eventually want to pursue plastic surgeries to take care of excess skin or flab.

What About The Cost Of Gastric Bypass?

Gastric bypass surgery is physically more invasive than gastric banding surgery, but the cost is similar. Surgeons usually charge between $18,000 to $35,000 for this surgery. This cost should include your operating room fee, your surgeon’s fee, all of your pre-op tests, labs, and x-rays. While there are no adjustments or fills involved with a gastric bypass, you will still need to consider the cost of additional services offered by your surgeon’s office, such as like nutrition counseling, personal training, or behavioral counseling. Gastric bypass patients often lose large amounts of weight quickly, and you may want to look into plastic surgeries to improve loose muscles and fix sagging skin or flabby areas that have not shrunk with weight loss. Complex surgeries like gastric bypass have many variables, and your out of pocket expenses can change rapidly.

Don’t Forget The Finishing Touches

Don't forget the finishing touches on your overall body rebuild -- body contouring after massive weight loss factors into the cost of lap-band surgeryAs previously mentioned, losing massive amounts of weight may cause you to be left with sagging skin or flabby areas. After working so hard to lose the weight, you deserve to feel fabulous! There are many surgeons who specialize in post-bariatric body contouring. You may consider liposuction, breast augmentation, lower body lift, a tummy tuck, brachioplasty, or other surgeries in order to feel and look your best. Most surgeons will have you wait to perform these surgeries until your weight has been stable for at least six months and you are at (or close to) your ideal weight.

Your plastic surgeon will help you to understand the expected cost of any surgery. Remember that when you have more skin or fat that needs to be removed, your surgery will last longer – therefore, it will cost more.

What About Insurance?

While every insurance plan is different, many insurance providers do cover some or all of the cost of weight loss surgery for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or over. Medicare, and in some cases Medicaid, may even cover some or all of the price of surgery for qualified individuals. In order to receive insurance coverage for your weight loss surgery of choice your primary doctor will need to write a letter to your insurance company for you, stating that the surgery is medically necessary and that you have tried and failed at weight loss efforts in the past. He or she may need to include documentation of your weight for an extended period of time, and may even need to provide proof that you have participated in a medically supervised diet plan. Your doctor should also outline whether you have any obesity related comorbidities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

You can arrange financing for the cost of your lap-band surgeryYour doctor will be your biggest ally in having your health insurance company pay for part (or all of) your weight loss surgery. Coverage denials are common- if your request is denied, make sure to find out exactly why and then work with your doctor to craft a strong letter of appeal. Your surgeon and your primary care doctor will be able to help you plead your case.

Health insurance coverage for weight loss surgery aftercare are rare, as is coverage for most plastic surgeries unless they are deemed to be medically necessary. Some insurance companies cover a panniculectomy if the doctor can prove that the excess skin is causing skin rashes or infections. Cost of living applies here, too.

The cost of your surgery will vary depending on where your surgeon is located. As with many other services, your surgery will likely cost more if it is done in a major metropolitan area. On the other hand, surgeons in cities often have much more experience than those in rural areas. Your weight loss surgery will likely cost the most if done in the northeast of the United States, followed by the west coast, then the south or the central states.

Lap-Band Surgery Payment Plans?

Many surgeons these days offer ways to help you finance your surgeries. These options may include medical financing companies, or a payment plan offered through your doctor’s office. Make sure you are fully aware of all of the fees and schedules associated with this type of financial assistance. Never deal with a surgeon’s office that is reluctant to speak with you about fees and costs.