Bariatric surgery is an option that many obesity medicine specialists say is too often ignored or dismissed. Yet it is the only option that almost always works to help very heavy people lose a lot of weight. Weight-loss surgery can also make some chronic conditions vanish entirely.
Here are some facts about bariatric surgery and what it does:
- Twenty-four million, Americans are eligible for bariatric surgery according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The criteria are a body mass index (BMI) above 40, or a BMI of at least 35 along with other medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or acid reflux.
- Fewer than 200,000 have the surgery each year.
- There are four surgical types in use today. The two most popular procedures are the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. Both make the stomach smaller. The bypass also reroutes the small intestine. A simpler procedure, the gastric band, is less effective and has fallen out of favor. And a much more drastic operation, the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, which bypasses a large part of the small intestine, is rarely used because it has higher mortality and complication rates.
- The average cost of a sleeve gastrectomy is $16,000 to $19,000, and the average cost of a gastric bypass is $20,000 to $25,000. Most insurance plans cover the cost for patients who qualify, though some plans require that patients try dieting for a certain amount of time first.
- Bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet that will solve all of your weight-related problems. Leading a healthy lifestyle full of healthy foods and exercise post surgery is crucial.
If you live in the Las Vegas area, have a BMI above 40 or any of the other conditions mentioned above, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help you find the treatment that’s right for you.