The first weight loss surgery Garrick Pedersen underwent nearly killed
Doctors placed an elastic band around Pedersen's stomach just below the
esophagus to restrict how much food he could eat. Pedersen, who weighed close
to 300 pounds, began to lose weight almost immediately after the surgery.
"I was overjoyed," says Pedersen, 52, a lawyer in the San Francisco Bay
area. "I felt better. I looked better." What's more, very small portions of
food left him feeling full.
Then came trouble...
Weight loss surgery is expensive. Typical costs can run from $20,000 to $25,000, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The price of your weight loss surgery will depend on several factors:
The type of surgery you're having. Types of weight loss surgery include gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, vertical gastric banding (also called stomach stapling), sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion. Each has a different fee.
Your surgeon's fee. This will vary based on where you live, your surgeon's expertise, and the procedure’s complexity.
The hospital you choose. Costs will vary and may include the operating and hospital rooms, among other fees.
Additional costs may include:
Surgical assistant's fee
Consultant fees (if necessary)
Follow-up procedures (for the gastric band)
Will Health Insurance Pay?
If you have health insurance, read your policy carefully, and work closely with your insurer and your doctor to see what's covered.
Most insurance companies recognize that people who are overweight and obese are more likely to get serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that bariatric surgery can improve or resolve up to 30 obesity-related conditions, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll likely have to pay the entire bill yourself. Some weight loss surgery centers can help you get a loan that you can repay over a number of years.