Surgical procedures to correct severely obese and overweight persons are technically
referred to as Bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. This is often resorted to
as the least recourse of severely obese or overweight persons on whom diet and exercise
programs and prescriptive medication have failed.
It is not something that any overweight person should consider unless you have a
BMI in excess of 40. Even then, if diet and exercise show promise, then Bariatric
surgery may not be necessary unless prescribed by your doctor.
Weight loss surgery can immensely improve your appearance and mobility that are often
the first to suffer with severe obesity. In addition, it reduces the risk of health
problems that overweight people are heir to, such as diabetes, heart and blood circulation
Options And Types Of Surgery
Gastric Bypass is a type of weight loss surgery aimed at reducing food intake when
all other weight programs and medication have failed. It consists of the traditional
and laparoscopic Rous-enY-Gastric Bypass procedure considered less complicated than
the other form called Biliopancreatic Diversion bypass which involves removing portions
of the stomach and is more risky.
Adjustable Gastric Banding, an alternative to gastric bypass, is a restrictive weight
loss surgery involving the surgical implantation of a silicone band with an inflatable
collar around the upper stomach to constrain and reduce food intake. The band can
be tightened or loosened in time to change the restriction. This is the more popular
form of weight loss surgery as more than half a million people have undergone this
Cost of Surgery
Bariatric surgery procedures can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $35,000. The cost
involves laboratory expenses, X-rays, anesthesia, hospital facilities and the surgeon’s
professional charges. The range accounts for the degree of complexity depending on
the extent of operation.
Post operation costs are something else which can include the recovery time, dietary
plans and fitness regimen and supplementation, subsequent body contouring surgeries
to take out excess skin, correct sagging tissues and improve loose muscles.
Gastric banding costs just minimally lower but post-operative maintenance like adjustments
and fills during the first year can be costly. Additional body contouring that may
involve plastic surgery that will increase the cost.
Health insurance companies as well as Medicare generally do not cover frivolous cosmetic
surgeries unless they are prescribed as medically necessary with appropriate documentation
that include previous but unsuccessful attempts at controlling obesity. Morbid obesity
with BMI in excess of 40 requiring weight loss surgery can be covered if a doctor
certifies to its medical necessity. Post operative costs can be covered but quite
Pro And Cons
Just like any kind of surgery, there will always be the risk of post-operative infection
or complication. But for severely obese persons, the benefit can far outweigh the
risks if done by competent weight loss surgeons. Weight loss is assured but will
not come until the surgical wounds have healed typically around 6 weeks.
Different persons may have different periods and levels of difficulty in adjusting
to their eating habits after surgery. Each type of Bariatric surgery also carries
its own set of pros and cons.
The popularity of undergoing adjustable gastric banding has more to do with the fact
that it is reversible, adjustable, and less invasive as this can be done with small
incisions on the stomach over a shorter period of time allowing it to be an outpatient
procedure compared with the other forms that require total general anesthesia and
large bowel incisions.
The disadvantage comes with frequent visits to your doctor to adjust the band or
fills, could cause infection and slippage of the band that could trigger vomiting
episodes. There’s also the risk of death from gastric banding surgery which is one