FREQUENTLY ASKED BARIATRIC SURGERY QUESTIONS
For your convenience, the most common bariatric surgery questions our patients have asked are answered right here.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED BARIATRIC SURGERY QUESTIONS
WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY COSTS
How much does weight loss surgery cost?
In most cases there will be an out of pocket cost for your treatment. The specific fee is determined by your chosen surgeon and will vary depending on the type of procedure and your level of private health insurance. To find out more about costs in detail, choose a surgeon, and make a time to speak with them to get accurate information on weight loss surgery costs in your specific case.
Will my private health insurance cover weight loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery may not be covered by your Private Health Insurance. Most funds charge a ‘hospital excess’ as well as implementing a 12 month waiting period prior to being able to use the Insurance. It is imperative that you contact your Health Insurance provider to determine your level of cover.
The following Medicare item numbers should be quoted to your Insurance provider when discussing insurance levels:
Sleeve Gastrectomy: 31575
Gastric Bypass: 31572
Gastric Banding: 31569
Please note that there will be an out of pocket expense, on top of the Medicare and Private Health Insurance rebate, for weight loss surgery. Please contact our office for further details.
What will it cost if I do not have any Private Health Insurance?
It is highly advisable to have Private Health Insurance prior to considering weight loss surgery. Typically Health Funds implement a 12 month waiting period prior to being able to access the fund. Without insurance, you would be expected to pay nearly $15,000 for your hospital stay. Your total out of pocket expense including surgery, anaesthetist fee and hospital stay would be in the region of $20,000. An unexpected prolonged hospital stay can significantly increase this cost, which would otherwise be covered by insurance.
Can I access my superannuation money to pay for surgery?
Yes. You can apply for early release of money from your Superannuation Fund to help pay for the surgery and hospital stay. This application must be approved by the Department of Human Services and you can apply on-line. They will provide you with an application form for you to bring to your consultation with us. The application form will also need to be supported by a second medical practitioner e.g. your General Practitioner.
You will need to submit the completed application form, along with our quote, to the Department of Human Services. They will then request your Superannuation Fund to release your money. The outcome of this application is at the discretion of your Fund.
Do I need to pay upfront?
Yes payment is made in full prior to your weight loss surgery. Following the operation you will be able to claim a rebate from Medicare as well as your Private Health Insurance. The Medicare rebate for a Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band is $637.20 and $784.05 for Laparoscopic gastric bypass.
PREPARING FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY
Do I need a special diet before the operation?
Yes. You are required to have a very-low-calorie diet (Optifast) before bariatric surgery. This reduces the size of the liver, which facilitates a safer and more effective operation. The diet is required for two to four weeks prior to surgery. Surgeons work alongside your weight loss dietitian to guide you through the steps involved.
What pre-operative tests do I require?
This will be assessed on an individual basis. Gathering anatomical information prior to an operation is important and a pre-operative contrast swallow or endoscopy will be required. The anaesthetist will also require some tests to ensure a safe anaesthetic e.g. routine blood tests, an echocardiogram, and a sleep study.
Am I a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?
There are many factors which determine your suitability for weight loss surgery. The easiest way to know if you qualify is to book a consultation with a weight loss surgeon. They will determine your eligibility for obesity surgery by looking at your body mass index calculations, the status of your physical and mental health and lifestyle. Learn more about the criteria to qualify for weight loss surgery.
Do I Need a Referral from my General Practitioner?
No. You do not need a referral to make an appointment with a surgeon. However, without a referral, you will be unable to claim a Medicare rebate for your consultation or surgery. We encourage you to discuss your decision with your general practitioner. Your doctor can visit our dedicated G.P info page where they will find comprehensive information as well as referral details for Dr Askew, Dr McLeod or Dr Mackay. .
What is an Enhanced Primary Health Care (EPC) Plan?
The Enhanced Primary Health Care Plan is a government initiative that helps people with a chronic disease, such as obesity, to access professional services to assist in the management of their condition. An EPC plan allows you to receive a Medicare rebate from your consultations with allied health professionals involved in your care. An EPC plan is initiated by your General Practitioner. You should discuss this with your GP before you request a referral to a surgeon.
Being adequately prepared for weight loss surgery starts with a consultation with a bariatric surgeon.
How long do I stay in hospital?
Recovery time following bariatric surgery varies considerably between individuals. A 2-3 day hospital stay is typical following weight loss surgery.
How long do I need off work?
Each individual recovers differently from an operation. We would expect at least two weeks recovery following an operation.
I am travelling from a remote area to have weight loss surgery, how long should I stay on the Sunshine Coast?
This will be assessed on an individual basis and depends on your type of surgery and your distance from the Sunshine Coast. Following a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy we recommend you remain near the Coast for up to 14 days.
Learn more about the benefits, risks, and recovery associated with different weight loss surgery procedures.
After my operation what follow-up care is required?
The Weight Loss Solutions Sunshine Coast approach utilises a comprehensive follow-up regime. Whilst long-term follow up is important, we recognise the value of frequent visits within the first year after bariatric surgery to ensure that you are ‘on the right track’ with your weight loss goals.
Frequent reviews will be scheduled. We also encourage you to have ongoing consultations with allied health staff, which will be tailored to your individual needs.
What is the role of the dietitian in my care?
A dietitian is an essential member of your team helping you through your weight loss journey. Prior to an operation, you will discuss with a dietitian to their role in assisting you to lose weight both before and after surgery. Following the operation you will be placed on a liquid diet. This will be slowly upgraded over the course of 6 to 10 weeks. As you lose weight, it is important to maintain a healthy body composition. A dietitian will guide you through an appropriate diet to ensure that your weight loss is healthy.
What is the role of an exercise specialist?
As you lose weight it is important to maintain muscle mass. An exercise physiologist or personal trainer can tailor a safe and effective program which enhances weight loss and improves body composition. Regular exercise is important and has been shown to improve cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivity.
What is the role of a psychologist?
You generally see a psychologist both prior to and following surgery. This support can be very helpful for goal setting, mental health as well as motivation.
Find out more about the benefits of an integrated weight management program.
Do I have to take a Vitamin supplement following surgery?
It is strongly recommended that all patients take a daily multivitamin tablet following weight loss surgery. To find out about the follow-up care required for each procedure, visit our weight loss surgery options page.
Have More Questions About Bariatric Surgery?
The best way to get all of your bariatric surgery questions answered is to book in a consultation with a weight loss surgeon.
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