Cost of Gastric Banding: Understand the Full Price of LapBand

Gastric banding weight loss surgery changes the shape of the stomach to reduce the patients ability to intake foods so they will eat less and lose weight. If you have been thinking about gastric banding surgery (a Lap-Band or Realize Band) as a weight loss solution, you are probably wondering how much the surgery will cost and whether or not you can afford it. The price patients pay for gastric banding surgery depends on where you live. Living in urban areas like New York city or Boston will result in higher fees than other less dense populations. Countries like Mexico can offer gastric banding for 1/3 the cost of the United States.

Some insurance companies will cover the expense if the doctor shows it’s medically necessary for the surgery and you meet insurance requirements as set by the National Institutes of Health. Even Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or all of the cost of gastric banding in some states. The general rule of thumb for insurance companies is that there has been a history of attempts of losing weight with other methods prior to agreeing to cover a gastric band surgery. The Lap-band surgery costs between $15,000 and $30,000.

Sites Like RealSelf says average cost is $12,380 — but looking at the reviews you can see dubious activity in reporting the price.

What’s Involved in Gastric Banding Surgery Cost

Surgery expenses related to gastric banding include anesthesia fees, the fee charged by the surgeon for the procedure, the fee charged by the hospital where the surgery takes place, pre operation lab fees and x-rays, and several follow up appointments with the doctor. The cost of the surgery will typically cover a few adjustments or fills during the first year after you have the surgery, but then future follow up visits will cost between $100 and $750 depending on your insurance coverage and where you live and what the doctor does during a follow up visit.

Additional Expenses Gastric Banding Surgery May Cause

In addition to paying for the direct costs of gastric banding surgery, you should consider the other expenses the surgery may require. For example, most patients undergo diet counseling and work with fitness trainers for exercise tips after undergoing gastric banding surgery. You may buy vitamins and supplements.
After you lose a lot of weight from the Lap-Band procedure, you may find it necessary for other surgeries in order to remove excess skin or improve loose muscles. Many gastric banding patients end up having face lifts or breast lifts after their surgery, or other types of body contouring procedures. Rapid weight loss and dropping a lot of weight results in extra skin that may not tighten up on it’s own.

Who is Eligible for Gastric Banding Surgery?

Not everyone who struggles to lose weight is eligible for gastric banding surgery. The National Institutes of Health determines Lap-Band candidates to be individuals with a body mass index over 40 – which is generally being between 80 and 100 pounds overweight. If your body mass index is also accompanied with an obesity related disease or illness like high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure, chances are you would be considered eligible for gastric banding surgery. People who receive gastric banding surgery are generally determined too high risk for gastric bypass surgery due to their health problems.

How Does the Gastric Banding Surgery Cause Weight Loss?

The Lap-Band gastric banding surgery places a silicon belt around the top of the patient’s stomach to reduce the overall size of the stomach. Once the surgery has been completed, the stomach will be about the size of a golf ball and hold an ounce of food at a time. You will eat less with a smaller appetite, feel full, and start to lose weight.

The Lap-band is adjustable and reversible. The surgery will also place a port just underneath your skin which can be used to tighten or inflate the band with saline to help speed up weight loss. Adjustments are generally not made until at least six weeks after the initial surgery to give your stomach time to heal. All patients undergoing gastric banding surgery will be required to take vitamins and supplements after the surgery to ensure they are getting proper nutrition despite the smaller meals.

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