Weight Loss Surgery
If you’ve schedule weight loss surgery or are considering it, you might feel a little unsure and uneasy. Information is your friend. The more you know directly affects how comfortable you feel with the process.
Here’s a look at the most commonly asked questions about weight loss surgery and the answers:
What Is Weight Loss Surgery?
Also called bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery encompasses a variety of surgical procedures designed to help obese people lose weight. Most of these procedures alter the gut hormone levels, so the patient is able to feel more full and satiated while eating less.
How Does Weight Loss Surgery Work?
Most weight loss surgery procedures work by altering the gut hormone levels in the body. These hormones are responsible for telling your brain when you’re full. The altered hormone levels help you lose weight by telling your brain that you’re full when eating less food than before the surgery.
What Is the Safest Form of Weight Loss Surgery?
Gastric band weight loss surgery is the least invasive form of this type of surgery. This bariatric surgery involves placing a band around the stomach and pulling it taut to make the stomach smaller. This surgery doesn’t affect the gut hormone levels, but the smaller stomach mass helps you to feel fuller more quickly.
However, gastric band surgery isn’t for every patient. You should discuss the possible surgeries for your specific needs and condition with your doctor to determine the safest one for you.
How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?
The final cost of weight loss surgery depends on a variety of factors, including the type of surgery, location, surgeon fees, and more. The average cost for a gastric band weight loss surgery is around $14,500 while the average cost of a more traditional gastric bypass surgery runs around $23,000.
Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?
Your doctor will make the final decision if you qualify for weight loss surgery. However, some requirements include:
A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater.
A BMI between 35 and 40 along with a medical condition due to obesity, such as:
Severe sleep apnea
High blood pressure
Weigh less than 450 pounds
Your surgeon may look at other factors to ensure that weight loss surgery is the best option for your unique circumstances. A consultation with a doctor can help define additional qualifications.
Does Insurance Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Many insurance companies will cover weight loss surgery. However, there needs to be a medical reason for the surgery. It can’t be an elective surgery and be covered by insurance.
Does Medicaid Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Medicaid will cover weight loss surgery provided that you meet the following qualifications:
A female over the age of 13 or a male over the age of 15.
There must be nutritional and psychological services available to you through the doctor’s office before and after your surgery.
You must have a BMI over 35 and one additional medical condition, including:
Severe sleep apnea
High blood pressure
A patient over 21 must have a BMI over 40 with one of the above conditions.
A letter from your doctor that states the procedure is medically necessary.
You must pass a psychological examination.
You must understand how your lifestyle and diet will need to change after surgery.
You need to participate in a medically supervised weight loss program for six months in the 12 months before the surgery.
You can get approval for coverage of the surgery when you meet these qualifications.
Does Medicare Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Yes, Medicare will cover some weight loss surgeries if they are medically necessary. This includes gastric bypass surgery and laparoscopic banding surgery. You may need to work with Medicare and your surgeon to secure authorization for the surgery.
How Do You Get Weight Loss Surgery Approved?
The approval process for weight loss surgery will vary by the insurance company. The biggest requirement is that the surgery is medically necessary. When you’re considering weight loss surgery, start by calling or contacting your insurance company and ask for their list of requirements. Carefully review all the qualifications to ensure that you meet each one or take steps to meet them.
Is Weight Loss Surgery Safe?
Weight loss surgery is considered major surgery. For this reason, it comes with a variety of risks. The most common complications include infection and problems recovering from anesthesia. With that said, weight loss surgery is a routine procedure that’s relatively safe. Your doctor will go over the specific risks with you before surgery.
Is Weight Loss Surgery Worth It?
Yes, weight loss surgery can be worth it. However, you need to remember that it isn’t a magic cure. You’ll need to follow the new diet and lifestyle outlined by your doctor.
What Are the Risks of Weight Loss Surgery?
The possible risks, complications, and long-term side effects can include:
Dilation of esophagus
Failure to lose weight or gain weight
An inability to eat certain foods
Low blood sugar
Chronic nausea or stomach upset
It’s always a good idea to review your chances of experiencing any of these risks with your doctor.
What Can I Eat After Weight Loss Surgery?
Your diet will need to change after weight loss surgery, and there might be some foods that you can no longer eat. However, immediately following weight loss surgery, your diet will probably include:
Ground lean meat or poultry
Canned or soft fresh fruit
Your doctor will provide you with guidelines as to what you can eat after surgery.
What Does Weight Loss Surgery Do?
Most weight loss surgery works by changing the gut hormone levels in your body. With lower levels of this hormone, you’ll feel fuller faster and eat less, leading to weight loss.