Gastric Sleeve Surgery Costs: An Up-to-Date Survey
The cost of gastric sleeve surgery may vary depending on your location, but generally, it falls slightly higher than gastric band surgery and considerably lower than gastric bypass surgery. According to our recent 2019 survey, prices in the ten most expensive states dropped by nearly 10%, and the average price nationwide decreased by almost 5% compared to 2015. This trend can be attributed to increased competition and demand for the surgery.
- Across the country, the price range for gastric sleeve surgery is between $9,000 and $27,000.
- The most commonly quoted price for gastric sleeve surgery is $15,400.
- The average price for this procedure in the US is approximately $16,800.
Please note that these prices refer to “pay cash” rates for Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy). Choosing to pay in cash, instead of using insurance, can result in lower costs. Surprisingly, the cash price is often less than what the hospital would charge your insurance company. There are various reasons for this, but they are beyond the scope of this article.
Variations in Cost Based on Location
The prices for gastric sleeve surgery can vary significantly across the United States. States with higher volumes of surgery tend to have lower cash payment prices. But does this mean you must travel to another state to undergo the surgery? Not necessarily.
Even if the average gastric sleeve price is higher in your state, it doesn’t mean that all facilities within that state will have higher prices. It’s worth gathering quotes from various bariatric surgeons and facilities in and around your city.
It’s important to consider that before and after surgery, you will need to visit your surgeon multiple times. Additionally, making lifestyle changes is crucial for maintaining weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery. These changes involve transforming lifelong activity and eating habits, which can be challenging. Fortunately, most bariatric surgeons provide ample resources to support patients in making permanent changes, including support groups, dietitians, and counselors. If you opt for surgery out of state, you might not be able to take full advantage of these resources.
States with the Lowest Gastric Sleeve Prices
- Oklahoma – $9,800
- Arkansas – $11,935
- Nebraska – $12,300
States with the Highest Gastric Sleeve Prices
- Massachusetts – $31,150
- Idaho – $24,920
- Wyoming – $22,250
Is a Lower Price Always Better?
When considering gastric sleeve surgery, several important factors come into play. Where will the operation take place? Who will perform the surgery? And how much are you willing to pay? Price is only one element among many that affect your final decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that gastric sleeve surgery is a major procedure, and you definitely don’t want to compromise the surgeon’s skills for a lower price.
Does a Lower Price Indicate Lower Surgeon Skill?
No, a lower price does not necessarily mean that the surgeon is less skilled compared to a higher-priced one. Often, the cost of the surgery is determined by the hospital, and the surgeon may choose to take advantage of that price or increase it. Some surgeons prefer to offer their patients the lowest price possible as they believe it attracts more patients, and the higher number of patients compensates for any loss in price per case.
As the price does not directly correlate with the surgeon’s skill level, it’s advisable to choose a surgeon based on your personal preference and then consider the price.
Is Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery Covered by Insurance?
Historically, gastric sleeve surgery was not covered by insurance, unless it was part of a staged gastric bypass procedure for morbidly obese individuals who could not tolerate long surgery times without losing more weight. This type of procedure was referred to as “stepwise,” where the surgeon planned to complete the second part of the surgery after the patient lost some weight and recovered from the initial part. However, in most cases, patients lost enough weight after the first stage, making the second procedure unnecessary.
Knowing that insurance would cover the procedure, some surgeons began scheduling more patients for staged duodenal switch surgeries. However, they were aware that these patients would lose enough weight and not require the second procedure.
Due to overwhelming evidence showing significant weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery, more insurance companies started covering it as the primary treatment for morbid obesity. In 2010, three major insurance companies decided to cover sleeve gastrectomies as a primary bariatric procedure. Since then, many other insurance companies have followed suit. It’s important to check with your insurance company to see if gastric sleeve surgery is covered.
Considering Surgery in Mexico
If you cannot afford bariatric surgery in the United States or lack insurance coverage, undergoing the procedure in Mexico can be a more affordable option. However, selecting this option requires careful consideration.
- How can you ensure the reliability of the facility?
- What if complications arise?
- What type of aftercare program do they offer?
- Is the surgeon highly skilled?
Before choosing to have surgery in Mexico, make sure to have all your questions answered. It is recommended to start by seeking assistance from an intermediary company specializing in reviewing bariatric programs. They can provide guidance, answer your questions, and help you navigate the process.
Costs After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Thankfully, there aren’t many additional costs after gastric sleeve surgery. Unlike gastric banding, which requires regular adjustments by the surgeon, gastric sleeves require minimal follow-up care. Nonetheless, please take note of the following important points:
- Appointments with a nutritionist are often paid out of pocket or negotiated before surgery, with prices ranging from $50 to over $100 per visit.
- When compared to gastric banding, the reduced need for follow-up visits after gastric sleeve surgery leads to lower overall costs.
- Follow-up visits with your bariatric surgeon after surgery are generally free of charge.
- Complications, while rare, can be costly. If the surgery is covered by insurance, complications are usually included in the coverage. Treatment for wound site infections is typically paid for by the hospital or surgical center.
Other Costs to Consider
Opting for gastric sleeve surgery entails making significant lifestyle changes. Expecting to maintain the same habits as before the surgery and successfully lose weight is unrealistic. Here are some costs that may increase after the surgery:
- Food costs may rise. Although you’ll be eating less, adopting a healthier diet often comes at a higher price. Make the most of every bite by choosing nutritious options that provide the most energy.
- Will you consider getting a gym membership?
- Nutritional supplements are often recommended by surgeons after the procedure, particularly protein supplements. Quality protein supplements can cost $50 per month or more.
- As weight loss progresses rapidly after surgery, you may need to buy new clothes. Many individuals are pleasantly surprised at how quickly they shed pounds post-surgery, necessitating the purchase of new clothing to accommodate their changing physique. Embrace the new you!
- Cosmetic surgery may be an option for some individuals who want to remove excess skin after significant weight loss. While this can be considered at a later stage, it’s advisable to start saving early if you think you’ll want to undergo such procedures.
In conclusion, the complete bariatric surgery patient guide explores each procedure in detail, outlining their benefits and discussing why some people succeed while others struggle.