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Bariatric Surgery

All about weight loss surgery

In the United States, nearly 11 million people are considered severely obese. Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is often performed on people who are obese and have been unable to lose the weight necessary to become healthy. There are a variety of procedures that fit under this category, all of which reduce the size of the stomach. Bariatric weight loss surgery can take the form of gastric banding, where a device is placed around the stomach to shrink it, or actual removal of part of the stomach (gastrectomy), or rerouting the small intestines to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).

There are several bariatric surgery centers throughout the United States. When a person goes to a bariatric surgery center, they are assessed to see if the surgery is appropriate for them. They are given medical, psychological, and physical testing, and are not accepted for the surgery unless they seem good candidates who will follow through with the necessary diet and exercise after the surgery is performed.

Potential Complications of Bariatric Surgery

After such a surgery, there are a lot of big changes in life. Some of the potential short term complications to bariatric surgery include blood clots in the legs. The chance of these can be reduced by walking or moving the legs after surgery. There is also the chance of infected incisions, and a leak in the stomach. After the surgery, the body may have some problems absorbing certain vitamins and minerals. This can lead to kidney stones and anemia. Bowel functions can change, and you may develop intolerances to certain foods. Overall, complications can be minimized by making a sound decision with your surgeon about what type of surgery will be best for you and what sort of follow up diet and exercise program will keep you on the right track.

How to Finance the Costs of Bariatric Surgery

As is the case with most surgeries, the cost of bariatric surgery varies. The average cost of gastric bypass surgery varies from $18,000 to $35,000. This includes lab fees, surgeons' fees, anesthesia, and facility fees. The variable costs come with after care that can include diet and nutritional assistance, fitness advice, and removal of excess skin. The average cost of gastric banding ranges from $17,000 to $30,000. These costs vary similarly to those for gastric bypass, based on after care. Surgeons who are in high demand receive greater fees as well. Costs are also higher in urban areas, such as New York and Boston, where the demand is greater. If a person meets the criteria established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most states require that insurance cover the cost of bariatric surgery.

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