Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Is it Worth the Price?
Gastric sleeve surgery, a bariatric procedure where a portion of the stomach is removed surgically to restrict the amount of food able to be consumed and thus reduce weight, can be expensive. While the cost of gastric sleeve surgery varies from doctor to doctor and location to location, it is generally between $10,000-$20,000 for self pay. Some insurances do provide bariatric benefits, but for those whose insurance does not cover the procedure, they may opt to pay on their own.
Dr. Shillingford’s out of pocket price for gastric sleeve surgery is $10,500, which is competitively priced for the active South Florida area. The $10,500 price includes: your initial consultation, pre-op tests (labs, 2 chest x-rays, EKG), hospital stay fee, anesthesiologist’s fee, radiologist’s fee, surgeon’s fee, post-operative care, and monthly nutrition support meetings led by a dietitian.
But is it worth it?
While no one can say with certainty that a surgery is right for someone else, one can look at the cost objectively and decide if it is cost effective. In the United States, it is generally accepted in the medical community that medical procedures costing up to $50,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) are cost effective. This essentially means that people are usually willing to pay up to $50,000 for each additional year of healthy life. Any surgery that costs less than that is generally considered cost effective. Considering that, the cost of $10,500 for gastric sleeve surgery, even without considering any potential future savings from health care costs, can be considered worth it.
For potential bariatric surgery patients with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or other obesity-related comorbid conditions, they must also consider the potential cost savings from reduction of these comorbidities. As many people who choose to undergo gastric sleeve surgery are able to reduce their weight significantly, able to improve their insulin sensitivity, improve respiratory function, and reduce their blood pressure, many post surgical patients are able to reduce their medications, reduce their need for medical equipment (such as CPAP or BIPAP machines) and some are able to prevent future hospitalizations and surgeries, such as knee and hip replacements. Potential cost savings could include many years of medication savings, copay and doctor’s bills savings, hospital stays and ER visits, and savings from medical equipment such as glucometers, testing strips, and breathing machines. All of these potential cost savings need to be weighed by each person considering gastric sleeve surgery. For those without medical insurance, prevention of one hospital stay could be worth the cost of the gastric sleeve surgery since the average daily rate is over $4,000.
The decision to have gastric sleeve surgery, or another type of bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass or adjustable lap band, is a very personal and important decision that should be made by weighing all one’s options. For those seriously considering gastric sleeve surgery in the South Florida area, plan to attend one of Dr. Shillingford’s free Informational Meetings at his Boca Raton office. Many of Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients some from local areas such as Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Miami Beach, Palm Beach, and Delray Beach, many others come from Orlando, Jacksonville, Georgia, and New York for his services. To schedule your free Informational Meeting, call Dr. Shillingford’s office at (561) 483-8840.