Frequently Asked Lap Band Questions

Below is a list of some frequently asked questions about the lap band surgery procedure.

What is the cost of lap band surgery?

The average cost of lap band surgery varies from about $15,000 to $20,000 in the United States, including surgery and related expenses.

What factors affect the cost of lap band surgery?

The cost of lap band surgery can be affected by geographical region, which pre-op and post-op tests are included in the billed amount and which ones are billed separately, skill and expertise of the surgeon, and if the surgery is performed in a hospital or out-patient facility.

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What is the cost of lap band surgery in Mexico?

Many lap band patients have decided to have their surgery done in Mexico, where the cost is about half of what is costs in the US. An average cost of lap band surgery in Mexico is $8000 to $8500. However, there are other factors to consider when traveling out of the country such as pre-op and post-op testing, travel arrangements, and appointments for lap band fills.

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What is the cost of a lap band fill?

The average cost for a lap band fill is $100 to $300. The cost can vary based on the facility, surgeon, whether or not the doctor performed the surgery, and the use of an x-ray fluoroscope. Many surgeons include the first year of fills in the cost of surgery for their lap band patients.

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Will insurance pay for lap band surgery?

Many insurance companies will cover lap band surgery if it is considered a medical necessity and the patient meets the NIH requirements for weight loss surgery. Most insurance companies that cover weight loss surgery will also usually require a history of previous weight loss attempts. The coverage and requirements for lap band surgery will vary between insurance companies.

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Lap Band Surgery

What are the NIH requirements for weight loss surgery?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services and one of the world's foremost medical research centers. The NIH guidelines for weight loss surgery state that a patient should have a BMI of 40 or higher (morbidly obese) or a BMI over 35 with obesity related health conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, high cholesterol, or hypertension (high blood pressure). Also, the patient must have attempted and failed at previous weight loss efforts and pass a psychiatric evaluation to be recommended for weight loss surgery.

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What is a Letter of Medical Necessity?

A Letter of Medical Necessity is a statement written by the patient's doctor explaining why weight loss is important to the patient's health and why surgery is the recommended treatment. Most insurance companies require that a Letter of Medical Necessity accompany a patient's request for coverage of lap band surgery. Information that is usually included in the Letter of Medical Necessity is the patient's weight and BMI, the number of years that the patient has been overweight, diets and weight loss programs attempted in the past, and a full history of medical problems related to obesity.

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Why do insurance companies require a medically supervised weight loss program before granting approval for lap band surgery?

Many insurance companies require a patient to participate in a medically supervised weight loss program focused on diet and exercise before considering approval for lap band surgery. The purpose of this requirement is to show a patient's efforts at weight loss and to see that the patient is willing to make the dietary and behavioral changes required of lap band surgery patients prior to surgery.

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How much weight will I lose with lap band surgery?

Lap band patients typically lose 50% of their excess body weight within two years after being banded. Weight is lost at a safe and gradual rate, about one pound a week, although some patients may lose two to three pounds a week in the first year after the procedure. Average weight loss with the lap band varies from patient to patient and the overall amount of weight loss will depend on a person's commitment to new eating habits and exercise routines.

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