Obesity is a major cause of some life-threatening diseases, and it can easily lead to heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, and even some types of cancer. Even if no disease has developed, being obese can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, rendering them almost immobile, and sometimes bringing on severe bouts of depression.
Given this situation, it’s pretty easy to understand why individuals who are significantly overweight become desperate to try various types of weight loss solutions to overcome their obesity. One of the most popular of these solutions is known as bariatric surgery, and overweight individuals are turning to this kind of medical procedure in increasing numbers, in an attempt to lose weight quickly and become healthier.
What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a kind of operation which aids in weight loss, by bringing about changes to the digestive system. In some cases, a bariatric operation will make your stomach smaller and that will help you feel full much faster. Other kinds of procedures will make changes to your small intestine because that’s the body part that absorbs calories from foods and beverages.
Bariatric surgery is generally an option to be considered for someone who is severely obese, and who has not been able to lose weight by other means. It might also be considered for people who have serious health issues such as sleep apnea or Type II diabetes, if they’re related to obesity. When a person undergoes a bariatric procedure they will generally lose somewhere between 15% and 30% of their total body weight, depending on which type of procedure is used.
After the operation, it’s possible that over time some of that weight loss will be regained, especially if the patient does not change their lifestyle and include regular exercise in their routine. These procedures should not be considered a replacement for healthy living, but it will generally help you become more active, and it will promote a lower calorie intake. A person who undergoes this procedure and follows the advice of their doctor in adopting healthy living habits, will generally be able to keep the weight off.
Is This Surgery Dangerous?
There are some noteworthy risks associated with these procedures, all of which will be explained to any patient considering the procedure. Anyone who undergoes gastric banding will probably need to remain on a fairly regimented diet the rest of their lives, and will be obliged to have regular visits to their doctor. Gastric bypass surgeries can cause a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, which means patients would have to supply these things in supplemental form forever afterwards.
Some women who have undergone weight loss procedures have experienced premature births, and have had babies who were undersized, relative to their age. There is no question that there are some drawbacks and risks associated with surgeries of all types. However, most scientists and surgeons will agree that any of the risks which are present with bariatric procedures are far less than the risks which a severely obese patient would typically encounter during their lifetime.
How Much Can This Cost?
Given the fact that more than one-third of all US adults are considered to be obese, there is an enormous pool of individuals who might consider this option. Since obesity can lead to other life-threatening diseases, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that a weight loss operation can be a lifesaver for a number of people. Unfortunately, not all insurance plans will cover this procedure, so for many people, it’s simply not an option.
The main drivers in determining how much it will cost to have an operation performed will be the type of weight loss procedure you’re considering, your geographical location in the country, the specific hospital, the surgeon’s fees, and the general cost of healthcare in your area. On average, however, you can expect that a lap-band operation will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $14,500, while gastric bypass will be closer to $23,000.
While these are certainly large enough numbers to make you stop and consider seriously, the investment might be well worth it, and could even save your life. For many people, some kind of operation will actually extend their lifespan, and significantly improve their quality of life. Given the positive benefits this operation can bring about, this might be one of the few situations where it is well worth your while to go into debt, in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
If you can’t afford the cost of the operation, and your insurance plan will not cover it, there are still some ways you can afford it. A secured medical loan is one which you would take out with your hospital by putting up collateral, such as a car or your home. Some hospitals also offer payment plans so that the cost can be spread out over a number of years.
You might also choose to tap your 401(k) plan prematurely, in the interests of improving your health and overall lifestyle. If you have a health savings account, you will probably be able to use the savings toward a procedure. Some people have paid for their surgeries using CareCredit, which is a credit card that can be used for certain medical procedures and expenses. Finally, you might also want to take out a personal loan to pay for the operation, keeping in mind that the health benefits will be well worth the repayment terms associated with the loan.
Prioritize Your Health
Bariatric surgery can save your life if you happen to be a person who is severely obese, and who has a relatively poor quality of life. There are certain risks associated with it, but there are even greater risks associated with being obese, so on balance it’s a wise choice to undergo the event.
While the cost is considerable depending on the type of surgery you have, there are ways that you might be able to pay for your procedure, even if your insurance carrier will not cover it. When you’ve decided that bariatric surgery might be a good option for you, contact us at the North Texas Medical Center, and we will be glad to answer any questions you have, or to schedule a consultation where you can learn everything you need to know about bariatric surgery.