Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery - Is It Affordable?

Posted by Jason Radecke on Mon, Oct 08, 2012

How much would you pay for an extra year of healthy life? According to an article by Washington University in St. Louis, people value each “quality-adjusted life year” at $50,000. This means that any medical procedure, less than $50,000, that can give you more than one quality year of life, is worth paying for. In short: the cost for living a healthy lifestyle is worth more than the surgery.

lap-sleeve-costThe cost of gastric sleeve surgery ranges from $7,000 to $20,000. Not only is this cost effective when compared to the price of obesity, but also is worth the cost when you figure in how much you would pay for a better quality of life.

Many private insurance companies can help cover the cost of gastric sleeve surgery, but most require that you go through specific steps to make sure that the surgery is right for you. Many insurance companies require a physician supervised weight loss program for at least 6 months prior to the surgery. Some gastric sleeve doctors will walk you through this process and work with you in the months leading up to your surgery.

How Gastric Sleeve Surgery Works?

Gastric sleeve surgery, also called lap sleeve surgery, works by removing part of the stomach along with Ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry. As shown in the picture above, the side of the stomach is removed, leaving a small tube or “sleeve” for the food to be stored.

Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is also removed in the surgery. This is the hormone that alerts your body that you need to eat. After the surgery, Ghrelin levels significantly drop over the next five years. Due to the smaller stomach and lack of Ghrelin, people feel full after only 1-3 ounces of food, and see a 60 to 70 percent loss of excess weight in two years.

Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass?

Unlike gastric bypass, gastric sleeve surgery runs no long-term risk of gastric ulcers or internal hernias. Also, the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract is not altered. This means that the risk of nutritional deficiencies is minimal.

Since gastric sleeve surgery removes the side of your stomach, it does not affect your pyloric valve, which is what empties the food into the intestines. This is critical, because it allows your stomach to naturally empty itself, which leads to long-term weight loss. Gastric bypass surgery, does not allow the pyloric valve to function normally, which can sometimes cause the weight to come back over time.

Gastric Sleeve surgery also removes the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, where bypass surgery does not.  Unlike gastric bypass surgery, the gastric sleeve weight loss procedure has proven to reduce Ghrelin levels over time, which is another key to long-term weight loss.

Note: Cost of surgery depends on if insurance is covering the surgery, if a patient is self-pay and other factors. To find out specific pricing contact us for more information.

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Tags: What is Lap-Sleeve Surgery

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