There are nearly 79 obese million Americans, and the number keeps rising. Obesity reduces life span two to ten years. Surgery techniques have improved in recent years, reversing or improving dozens of disorders. Removing these conditions reduces patient care costs by 30% within five years. At least 193,000 bariatric procedures were performed in 2014, up 22% since 2011.
Bariatric surgery combines five stomach-reducing procedures which limit food intake, making people feel full quickly. The procedure has been around since the 1950s, but did not become popular until 1994 when minimally invasive surgery made recovery time much faster.
Gastric bypass has been done for over 50 years. The stomach is reduced to walnut size and attached to the small intestine. Gastric banding (Lap Band) is easily reversible, and many patients regain weight. In this procedure, an adjustable silicon band filled with saline is wrapped around the top of the stomach, leaving a small food pouch. Gastric sleeve is a newer procedure, making up half of all bariatric surgeries because of ease. The stomach is stapled vertically creating a banana-shaped pouch, removing the remainder of the stomach. Duodenel switch is the most complex surgery, reducing the stomach, removing the gall bladder, and rerouting the digestive system. This procedure has the most complications. Gastric balloon is used to help patients lose weight before procedures, such as hip replacements, by inflating a balloon in the stomach.
Surgery is appropriate for people more than 100 pounds overweight or with a BMI over 40. In order to be approved for the procedure, patients must be morbidly obese for at least three years, fail a supervised diet, and take numerous tests. Most patients lose and keep off substantial weight. Conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, and sleep apnea disappear in 60 to 80% of patients.
The price of bariatric surgery can range from $7,000 to $50,000, depending on the type of procedure and location. Medicare and major insurance companies cover bariatric surgery, yet copayments can reach $10,000. MediBid has saved money for patients needing bariatric surgery with accepted procedure bids such as $3,500 for gastric sleeve, $9,000 for Lap Band, and $13,168 for general bariatric surgery. Patients can read about surgeon experience, success, and what fees are included in the price before selecting a surgeon for their procedure.
Johnson, Linda. “Things to know, ask if you’re considering bariatric surgery.” Health & Science. The Washington Post, 17 Mar 2016. Web. 20 Mar 2016.