Type of Surgery
Introduction to Weight Loss
Last updated: 01/28/2009
Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery
In a world in which nutrition and health are an increasingly prominent concern, weight loss, or bariatric, surgery is emerging as an empowering tool to address these problems. Obesity can be a life-threatening condition, and even for those who fail to fall into the category of morbidly obese, carrying excess weight around can add up to a whole host of costly and dangerous complications later in life. So what better way to fight the weight problems caused by both nurtureâ€”in the form of an unbalanced food cultureâ€”and natureâ€”in the predetermined sequence of your genesâ€”than weight loss surgery?
Costs of Weight Loss Surgery
The costs of the two most widely performed and successful procedures, gastric bypass and lap band surgery, hover in the $20,000 range. This number should be taken only as a very rough estimate, however, since the many different types of weight loss surgeries can be very complex and fees vary greatly depending on your region and surgeon of choice.
If the number is a deterrent, remember that weight loss surgery is a procedure whose benefits can follow you for many, many years to come. The lump sum for a surgical weight loss procedure pales in comparison to potential hospital visits for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a sobering list of other obesity-related complications.
Potential Additional Costs
In some cases, the speedy weight loss that a successful bariatric procedure grants can have hidden costs attached. You may be happy to drop those pounds so quickly, but your body may not always adjust at the same pace. Many post-op patients require additional cosmetic surgery to remove hanging skin, lift certain areas, tighten loose muscles, or adjust fat deposits. Apart from surgical procedures, patients who have undergone weight loss surgery may require dietary supplements, drug therapy, and even behavior or fitness therapy.
In both cases, the cost of additional surgeries and treatments will vary greatly from individual to individual. The price of cosmetic surgery such as facelifts and liposuction, for example, depends greatly on how much skin and fat need to be removed or tightened.
Can Insurance Help?
Whether or not you are able to enlist the monetary assistance of your insurance plan depends on your situation. If your doctor recommends weight loss surgery because he or she feels that your obesity is a direct and immediate threat to your health, then you can ask them to provide your insurance company with a Letter of Medical Necessity. Medical proof that your weight puts you at heightened risk for heart disease and strokes, for example, will improve your chances. In particular, those who fall under the heading of chronic morbid obesity are most likely to be validated for assistance. In addition, if your doctor is able to provide documentation of other failed attempts to control your weightâ€”such as psychological therapy and drug therapyâ€”your case becomes that much stronger. Remember that talking to your surgeon is the best bet for putting a strong case before your insurance company!
Note, however, that post-op procedures such as cosmetic surgery will not be covered.
Is Weight Loss Surgery Worth It?
No surgical procedure grants a 100% guarantee of success. Follow-up studies of weight loss surgery, however, have shown that average weight loss in patients is about 50% even after periods of 5 and 10 years. Compared to non-surgical procedures, in which patients typically gain back almost all the weight lost by the five-year mark, this statistic is a powerful and compelling argument for weight loss surgery.
Last Updated: 01/28/2009
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