Bariatric surgery, in one form or another is the reduction of ones stomach in the hopes of losing weight through decreased food intake and less absorption of nutrients. Used on severely obese patients with obesity-related diseases, bariatric surgery carries with it tremendous risks as well as life saving benefits. Some of the risks apart from normal exploratory surgery risks include intestinal blockage, gastric bleeding and severe malnourishment. After surgery patients will have incredibly strict diet plans centered around supplying the nutrients they are no longer absorbing through their food. These diet plans are permanent and costly.
There are three popular methods of bariatric surgery. Adjustable gastric banding uses a band filled with silicone to clamp around the top of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch that fills more quickly, creating the sensation of being full. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass uses surgical staples that carry with them the risk of ruptures and leaks. These staples are used to create a small pouch similar to the band method, and in this case a portion of the small intestines is surgically attached to the newly created pouch, bypassing the stomach all together. A third form of bariatric surgery is the biliopancreatic diversion. In this procedure portions of the stomach are removed. The remaining pouch is connected to the last leg of the small intestine right before the colon, where calories and nutrients are not absorbed.
Bariatric surgery expenses range from around $15,000 to over $30,000. Several variables for this price range include type of procedure, the demand for surgeons in that area, price of anesthesia, and length of hospital stay.
These are the three procedures recognized and covered by Medicare and Medicaid after a 2006 announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It is important to note that not all aspects of the process are covered, like cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin after weight has been lost, and the dietary needs a patient must fulfill for the rest of their lives. Medicare and Medicaid will only cover the operation if there are health risks involved with a patient’s obesity, like coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, some cancers, respiratory problems, and a host of others.
Insurance too may cover these surgeries if enough information is supplied by you and your doctor. This information should include all the steps one has taken to try and lose weight and what health complications one is facing while being overweight. It is best to choose a facility that meets the American College of Surgeons high quality standards. These standards have helped spotlight which hospitals do the most procedures and have the best care for their patients.
If you are considering becoming a candidate for bariatric surgery, consult you doctor and your insurance company soon to learn more.