The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed on the stomach and/or intestines to lower a patient’s body mass index (BMI) and promote weight loss. In doing so, it also allows the patient to have improved health and a better overall quality of life.

There are several types of bariatric surgery that can be performed to achieve optimal weight loss, including:

  • Gastric sleeve, or sleeve gastrectomy, the process of creating a small, sleeve-shaped stomach pouch approximately the size of a banana through small incisions
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a complicated name for a technique that creates a small stomach pouch, which is then attached to a different part of the intestine, therefore “bypassing” much of the small intestine
  • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS), a malabsorptive procedure—like the Roux-en-Y bypass—that connects a surgically-created stomach sleeve to the lower part of the small intestine to reduce the number of calories and nutrients being absorbed by the body
  • Adjustable gastric banding, known colloquially as LAP-BAND®, in which a band is surgically placed around the uppermost part of the stomach to restrict how much food a patient can consume and to give the sensation of feeling full faster

However, patients who can’t or won’t undergo a surgical procedure aren’t left without options at Advanced Surgeons. There are also nonsurgical weight-loss methods to choose from, most notably gastric balloon systems. Gastric balloons are designed to be inserted into the stomach and filled so that patients can feel fuller faster when eating, thus reducing the number of calories consumed.

How much does bariatric surgery cost?

Since bariatric surgery is quickly becoming more of a weight-loss tool to aid in improving overall health in the long run—rather than a “quick fix”—most insurance companies cover it. Patients can simply call their insurance company to inquire about their personal coverage, including whether they need to meet certain criteria for coverage.

Who performs bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is performed by bariatric surgeons. These are physicians who have undergone specialized training in order to provide patients with both surgical and nonsurgical weight-loss options. At Advanced Surgeons, for example, our board certified specialists have decades of combined experience in performing these and other life-changing procedures. In fact, some are even pioneers in other surgical techniques, such as robotic surgery, which is used to perform weight-loss surgery.

Additionally, our surgeons are proud to be associated with three premier American College of Surgeons (ACS)-accredited bariatric centers for the weight-loss procedures they perform. These centers were given this accreditation based on a number of very exclusive criteria and offer patients a superior quality of care with fewer complications post-op.

How much is bariatric surgery in Mexico/Abroad?

This is a more complicated question than it seems. Monetarily speaking, traveling to Mexico or other countries for bariatric surgery is potentially much cheaper than pursuing weight-loss procedures in the U.S. That said, patients need to consider the fact that medical tourism comes with some significant risks. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), complications of having surgery in other countries can include:

  • Antibiotic resistance. Resistant bacteria, which are becoming more of a global problem every day, may be more common in other countries than in the United States.
  • Communication. Misunderstandings about patient care may be more likely to happen when patients receive care at a facility where they do not speak the language fluently.
  • Flying. Traveling after surgery—especially flying—can increase the risk of blood clots.
  • Medication. Medication received pre- and post-operatively may be counterfeit or of poor quality in some countries.

In addition, follow-up care is not available locally, especially if any complications develop in the post-operative period.

Patients whose surgery is covered by insurance can possibly pay the same or even less by staying in the U.S. than going to Mexico. Therefore, patients should strongly consider keeping their medical care in the U.S.

For patients who don’t have insurance coverage, our team at Advanced surgeons will be happy to work with them and develop a financial plan.

Does bariatric surgery work?

The surgical and nonsurgical options that are currently offered are tools to help achieve weight loss, not just as a way to shed weight quickly and easily. Patients have to be willing to make the necessary changes to ensure optimal weight-loss results with the right support. These procedures are successful in majority of the cases and improve both quality and length of life.

Patients who remain skeptical of the positive effects of bariatric surgery should take a look at just some of our weight-loss success stories

About Advanced Surgeons

At Advanced Surgeons, we specialize in changing the lives of our patients one patient at a time utilizing innovative weight-loss techniques. Our elite and experienced specialists are committed to providing complete care for patients looking to improve their health through comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical treatments.

For more information about bariatric surgery, or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.