The Ultimate Weight Loss Surgery Cost Guide

Obesity continues to be a significant health problem, not only in the United States but all across the world. While diet and exercise may be an effective weight loss solution for some people, it may not be a feasible option for others.

Individuals that have struggled to lose weight via traditional methods may opt to undergo weight loss surgery. However, there are many types of surgeries, and their prices can differ. This guide will illuminate the average weight loss surgery cost.

With this information, you could take control of your body and your life once again!

Different Types of Weight Loss Surgery

Before delving into the average prices of the different weight loss surgeries, it’s vital to identify the three primary weight loss surgery types. Some types may be better suited to your condition than others.

The major categories of weight loss surgery include:

  1. Restrictive
  2. Malabsorptive
  3. Implant

These terms might seem strange, but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In the next section, we’ll elaborate on these types and provide useful examples. This way, you can begin your weight loss surgery journey with knowledge and confidence.

Restrictive

This type of weight loss surgery is one of the most popular options. This may have something to do with the variety of surgeries that fall under this category.

Restrictive weight-loss surgeries function by altering the size of a person’s stomach. A smaller stomach tends to fill-up more quickly. This surgery could temporarily reduce a person’s appetite. However, this surgery can be reversed with poor habits.

Some individuals who’ve undergone restrictive surgeries end up inflating their stomach by gradually overeating. Over time, this habit could undo all of the positive benefits of weight loss surgery. 

Consequently, those who opt for this type of treatment need to watch their consumption habits. Additionally, those who overeat immediately after restrictive surgery could experience excessive vomiting. 

Some of the most common examples of restrictive weight-loss surgery include:

  • Gastric Banding
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Gastric Balloon

Let’s take a closer look at these treatments to discover how they differ and how they’re alike.

Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is kind of like putting a tight belt across your stomach. This belt is made of long-lasting silicone and can be adjusted to relieve pressure or restrict the stomach more tightly. This band is often secured near the top of the stomach.

Those that choose to undergo gastric banding surgery are placed under anesthesia to reduce treatment trauma and pain. However, unlike other forms of weight loss surgery, this option only takes about an hour.

Most patients skip hospitalization entirely and return home immediately after surgery. There’s often no physical therapy or intense outpatient care to tend to after gastric banding, making it one of the most convenient options.

The average cost of gastric banding is about $15,000. Still, prices are bound to vary depending on insurance coverage, location, and personal preferences.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

If gastric banding doesn’t appeal to you, you may want to check out sleeve gastrectomy. Though this type of weight-loss treatment is more extreme than a “lap band” surgery, it may also prove more effective at keeping the pounds off.

During a sleeve gastrectomy, a significant portion of the stomach is cut away and removed. About 80% of a patient’s stomach may be discarded.

Due to this surgery’s intense nature, patients may need to spend a few days recovering in the hospital. Light outpatient care may also be recommended. The average cost of a sleeve gastrectomy is about $18,000.

Gastric Balloon

Unlike the two surgical procedures described above, a gastric balloon treatment is temporary. During a gastric balloon surgery, a surgeon places an inflated balloon inside of the patient’s stomach. This object causes the stomach to feel full.

After several months, the balloon is removed. This procedure allows patients to lose weight without permanently altering their stomach or digestive system. However, it does require two different surgeries. 

Still, this may be one of the least expensive weight loss surgery options. The average cost for gastric balloon treatment is about $7,500.

Malabsorptive

This type of weight loss surgery is a more in-depth version of restrictive options. In addition to reducing the stomach’s size, surgeons may also shorten the digestive tract. This alteration can reduce caloric intake while hastening digestion. 

Gastric Bypass Surgery

This type of weight loss surgery is often confused with a sleeve gastrectomy. And while these treatment options are somewhat similar, a gastric bypass is often more complex. 

Instead of removing a majority of the stomach, surgeons connect the upper portion of the stomach to the small intestine’s mouth. They may also cordon off the majority of the stomach, ensuring the food doesn’t become trapped.

This is a two-step procedure that typically takes between two and four hours to complete. However, patients may require in-patient hospital care when surgery has finished.

Additional outpatient physical therapy may also be required for a full recovery. Gastric bypass is often the most expensive type of weight loss surgery and the average cost is about $23,000.

Implant

Implant weight loss surgeries are relatively new. They rely on advanced technological components, most notably the vagal blockade or vBloc. Though this is a novel form of weight loss surgery, it does appear to be safe and effective.

Vagal Blockade (vBloc)

Unlike the above treatments, vBloc may be one of the least invasive forms of weight loss surgery. This procedure utilizes a pacemaker-like device that adheres to the vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the brain to the abdomen.

By stimulating this nerve, the implanted device may reduce hunger pangs and help patients suppress their appetite. Still, one of the greatest disadvantages of this treatment is the fact that an internal electrical source powers the implant.

This means that patients may need to replace or recharge their implant’s battery. This process could necessitate future minor surgeries, which only contribute to the total cost of vBlock therapy. And the initial installations costs aren’t cheap.

Due to this surgical option’s novel and technologically advanced nature, it’s one of the most expensive types of weight surgery. At around $20,000, it’s only surpassed in average price by gastric bypass. 

Still, this price may fall as time passes. Hopefully, this early implant design will evolve to include smarter charging options, eliminating the need for future invasive treatments and implant repairs.  

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?

Now that you’re familiar with the most common types of weight loss surgery, we can examine the average costs of such treatments. Prices vary depending on the precise type of surgery you’ve chosen as well as your insurance status. 

With Insurance

It’s tricky to determine the average cost of weight loss surgery with insurance. Policies differ greatly, making it nearly impossible to calculate an educated average. Some insurance companies may flat-out refuse to cover weight surgeries.

Before you begin to seriously consider your weight loss option, you may want to review your current health insurance policy. You could also choose to contact your healthcare provider and ask questions regarding your coverage status.

Without Insurance

Standard weight-loss surgeries can range from about $14,000 to more than $20,000. This price reflects an absence of insurance or a lack of proper coverage.

If your insurance doesn’t cover weight loss surgery, you may still be able to find an affordable weight loss surgery option. Some clinics and treatment centers offer new patient discounts and helpful payment plans.

Additionally, you may be able to opt-out of some of the more expensive services included in the typical surgery bill. However, it’s often worth spending the extra money and enjoying a few days of in-patient hospital care. 

Another aspect to consider is post-surgery care. Though weight loss surgery may not directly affect your ability to walk, sit, or lie down, it can cause some mobility issues. Patients are often fantastically sore after surgery, and some may require therapy.

Physical therapy can add another financial burden, though such treatment isn’t entirely necessary. 

Invest in Weight Loss Surgery

If you’re looking to lose a significant amount of weight, you’re not alone. And while traditional options might work for some, it’s not always effective. Fortunately, weight loss surgery may help you finally achieve the body you’ve been dreaming of. 

The average weight loss surgery cost varies depending on the type of surgery and the patient’s insurance coverage. Across the board, the average cost of weight loss surgery is about $14,000. Patients may pay less with the help of medical insurance.

If you enjoyed this pricing guide, then be sure to check out our related weight loss articles now!

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