If you are interested in weight loss surgery with the LAP-BAND®, it is likely you want to know how much it costs and if you can afford it. This is a valid concern, but the answer is not as simple as quoting a set amount. The total cost can vary from patient to patient as there are a number of factors that determine the outcome.
Some of the most common elements that can affect the total price are:
- the surgeon you choose,
- where you choose to have the surgery performed,
- what fees are included or not included in the quoted price,
- and the level of follow-up care including fill appointments.
The amount can also vary between geographic regions, as cost of living expenses and demand for weight loss surgery can fluctuate from place to place and affect medical costs. Another consideration is how you will be paying for the procedure as this can affect the quoted price. Some bariatric surgery providers offer a cash pay amount that is lower than the standard rate billed to insurance companies.
LAP-BAND® Cost in the United States
As a general range, it costs approximately $15,000 to $20,000 for LAP-BAND® surgery and related expenses in the United States. This amount usually includes all fees and exams for the procedure, such as pre-op consultations, hospital fees, and post-operative follow-up appointments and fills, but you need to be aware that this is not always the case.
LAP-BAND® Price Comparison
When comparing prices, there are a number of services and expenses that contribute to the overall cost of getting the LAP-BAND. Treatment for obesity with weight loss surgery is a process that begins before you undergo the procedure and continues for a lifetime.
Fees to consider are:
- surgeon fees
- hospital/facility fees
- anesthesia fees
- pre-op lab and X-ray fees
- travel expenses
- follow-up appointments, including fills and adjustments
- post-surgery behavior, exercise and diet counseling
- exercise programs/gym membership
As you compare prices for LAP-BAND surgery between providers or with other methods of weight loss surgery, keep in mind the various services and expenses that may be involved in the process and find out what is included (or not included) in the LAP-BAND quote from your bariatric surgeon.
Remember, too, that the best value is usually not found in the cheapest price but in the total quality of service you will receive for the total amount you will be paying.
Explanation of LAP-BAND® Costs
Surgeon - The bariatric surgeon you choose to perform your LAP-BAND surgery is one of the most important decisions you can make. It is also one of the primary cost factors involved in the procedure, but you do not want to base your choice of surgeon on price. Consider the experience and qualifications of the surgeon and choose the one with the best credentials and reputation within the medical community and among other patients.
In addition to surgical expertise, consider the level of care and support offered by the doctor. Successful results with the LAP-BAND and all types of weight loss surgery requires follow-up and support after surgery, so look for a bariatric surgeon that offers a program that includes such things as nutrition and psychological counseling, medical check-ups, and group support meetings. The best criteria for choosing a surgeon is not price, but the quality of care provided throughout the weight loss journey.
Hospital/Facility - Where you have your surgery is a major part of the cost you will pay for the procedure. Hospitals tend to have higher fees than outpatient facilities, but quality of care is comparable between the two options.
- Verify the accreditation of the hospital/facility to see if the center has any problems (there are four different accreditation agencies to check).
- Find out if the hospital/facility is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, a designation awarded to both the surgeon and facility if they meet certain standards of care.
Anesthesia - The anesthesiologist provides the services for anesthesia during surgery. Find out whether the fee is included in your package price or hospital bill or billed as a separate expense.
Pre-op Assessment - If your surgeon approves you for LAP-BAND surgery after a consultation, you will then be required to undergo various pre-operative exams and lab tests before you are medically cleared for surgery. The necessary tests often include blood tests, electrocardiograph (EKG), chest X-rays, sleep apnea screening, and an echocardiogram. The cost of pre-op tests and exams are often included in the overall price, but can range up to $1000 if billed separately.
Follow-Up Care and Fills - Follow-up care and fills or band adjustments are an important part of the LAP-BAND procedure. There are usually several follow-up appointments the first year and then once a year after the first year in order to monitor weight loss and adjust the band as needed. Many surgeons structure their prices to include some band adjustments for the first year. Some self-pay patients (without insurance coverage) opt to pay for the surgery separately and then pay for adjustments as needed.
- Fills, or band adjustments, for patients commonly range from about $100 to $300 each. Some surgeons may provide fills or make adjustments for people who have had their surgery elsewhere, but the fees are usually quite a bit more than for their own patients.
Post-surgery behavior, exercise and diet counseling - Surgery is just the beginning; learning new behaviors and adopting new lifestyle patterns is essential to maximizing weight loss and minimizing problems. You should not have to do this on your own - a reputable bariatric program will include a staff of medical professionals to support you in your efforts, such as a psychologist specializing in behavior modification, a registered dietitian, physical fitness instructor, and a support group led by a bariatric specialist. Find out what is included in the quoted price and what you will be expected to pay on your own.
Travel - Regular care and follow-up with a bariatric surgeon is a vital part of getting the best weight loss results with the LAP-BAND. It is usually best to find a qualified provider as close to home as possible for convenience and practical access to recommended care.
LAP-BAND® Cost in Mexico
Many US patients are choosing to travel to other countries as they seek low-cost LAP-BAND providers. One of the top destinations for Lap-Band surgery outside of the United States is Mexico, where the cost for the surgery is roughly $8,000 to $10,000.
This seems to be quite a financial deal, but consider these factors:
- When traveling away from your home for surgery, there will be travel time and related travel expenses for both the surgery and all recommended follow-up appointments.
- Follow-up and support, including fill appointments, with a doctor are an important part of losing the most weight with the LAP-BAND and it may not be possible to have this relationship if your medical team is out of the country or not close to home.
- The most current version of the LAP-BAND, the AP System, is not available in Mexico, according to the manufacturers statements.
- Do not expect to have the surgery out of country and then find a doctor close to home for follow-up and fills. Many doctors will not take on patients that had surgery done elsewhere; for those that will accept these patients, the cost of fills and follow-up appointments typically costs much more than for surgical patients of the doctor.