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How Much Does a Gastric Balloon Surgery Cost?

How Much Does a Gastric Balloon Surgery Cost?

Gastric balloon surgery cost can be expensive. This is especially so because they are generally not covered by insurance in the US.

For a procedure to be covered by insurance, it needs to be warranted as a medical necessity. Unfortunately, gastric balloon surgery is not a part of as it is more a cosmetic or “quality of life” procedure.

The cost of the procedure can change over time due to market demand and supply. However, a reasonable estimate of the procedure is that the price varies but can reliably go up to $9,000 for one procedure paid out of pocket.

Gastric balloon surgery is an excellent weight loss procedure to help patients learn how to eat healthy and change their lifestyle.

Benefits of Gastric Balloon Surgery

Still, gastric balloon surgery can have a significant effect on those who use it. On average, people lose three times more weight than they usually would with just dieting and exercising. This weight loss is consistent and does not rebound, unlike other weight loss methods. The weight loss happens over approximately 6 months and more.

So, it is no wonder that people are getting this procedure done for themselves even with the high cost. It has only been recently FDA approved back in 2016.

This weight loss surgery forces patients to really focus on the foods they are consuming. 

What is Gastric Balloon Surgery?

To help with weight loss, there are ways to make you feel fuller faster, and one primary way to do this is to reduce the volume in your stomach.

Procedures for weight loss like gastric bypass surgery are  invasive and involve cutting into your stomach. Traditional bariatric operations are not generally indicated for people with  BMI less than 35, like if you are only slightly overweight.

This makes gastric balloon surgery more suitable for people who have lower BMI but want a procedure that will help them with weight loss.

Gastric Balloon Surgery is an excellent weight loss tool for helping patients begin eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Even though the name says surgery, the procedure is not surgery because the balloon does not require an incision to make. The balloon can be inserted orally through the mouth in pill form, then it goes down the throat, and then once it lands inside the stomach, the balloon is then inflated through the tube.

The balloon is then filled with saline. You are sedated during the procedure. Once pumped up, the balloon can stay in your stomach for up to 6 months.

Still, the procedure usually is done by a surgeon. And you should make sure the surgeon you are seeing is a qualified one.

Why is the Gastric Balloon Surgery Cost High?

If the procedure does not last long and does not require much equipment to do, why is the cost so high? You might be asking this question right now.

It is important to note that you are not just paying for the actual procedure, which only takes 20 minutes. You are paying for the expertise and experience of the surgeon and other medical staff that are involved in your care.

You also get multiple consultations over with the doctor to follow up with you to make sure you are doing okay not just during the surgery but also after. There are multidisciplinary members of your care team to ensure you get the highest quality service.

The fact that it had only been recently approved in the USA back in 2016 makes the procedure innovative. And all new things tend to be higher priced no matter what industry or market you are in.

That is especially true for those procedures that are recently approved by the FDA in the USA. Over time, when there is more track record of the gastric balloon working for more and more people and the media and insurance companies see the procedure’s benefits, it will likely reduce in cost.

Over time, future technology may improve upon the current gastric balloon procedures, or supply may increase, spike the prices down, but that is mere speculation.

Gastric Balloon Surgery Cost Compared to Other Surgeries

If you look at the cost of gastric bypass surgery, you get a better idea that the value of gastric balloon surgery is not that much after all. An average gastric bypass surgery cost is a whopping $25,000 on average. Now that is pretty high.

So if you put the cost of average gastric bypass surgery, which was just mentioned, is $25,000 and put it next to the maximum cost of getting a gastric balloon procedure done, which is $9,000, you can see how the gastric balloon procedure is a bargain.

Plus, putting the gastric balloon pill is not invasive and does not involve cutting your tissues.

Gastric Balloon Surgery gives people the chance to completely change their lifestyle choices to ensure further weight loss. 

Conclusion

The gastric balloon procedure is excellent for portion control option because it makes the food volume in your stomach much smaller. The smaller the volume in your stomach for food, the faster you get to feeling fuller, and you lose your appetite, naturally preventing you from eating more.

It has been shown to work, and just recently been FDA approved in the USA. One of the biggest hurdles, though, is the high cost.

Remember that this procedure is not for morbidly obese people. It is for those with BMI between 30 and 40.

So is the cost of the gastric balloon procedure worth it? It will depend on how much value you place in losing stubborn body weight. While the balloon may not replace diet and exercise, it can certainly boost your weight loss efforts, especially with the right medical guidance. You should consult with a competent medical professional before proceeding.

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Mark Aquino, RN, BSN, MHA.

Author

Mark graduated from West Coast University. He has 3 years of experience as an RN in mental health and home health. He helps people live healthy and peaceful lives and owns a stress relief website.

Gintas Antanavicius, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Medical Reviewer

Dr. G is a co-founder of BariBuilder. A US-based expert surgeon with over 10 years of bariatric experience, he regularly publishes research in medical journals like SOARD, Obesity Surgery, etc.