The Adjustable Gastric Band, often called a “Lap-Band”, is a weight loss surgery procedure that involves placing a silicone band around the top portion of the stomach. This band helps to slow the consumption of food and shrinks the size of the stomach, making it more difficult to overeat and allowing patients to feel full faster.
For decades, Lap Band was one of the most popular forms of bariatric surgery. This popularity was primarily fueled by its ability to be reversed. It was one of the only effective weight loss surgery procedures that could be removed if the patient no longer wanted the device.
Although it has generally fallen out of favor in recent years, it still remains one of the only FDA approved surgical procedures available for weight loss.
As you and your doctor decide on which type of bariatric surgery is best for your body, health, and needs, one of the most common considerations you will have to make is cost. Weight loss surgery can be expensive, and although some – including Lap Band – are covered by insurance, insurance tends to only cover a small portion and many people do not have an insurance plan that covers it.
LAP-Band is one of the less expensive procedures, but they are all within a similar range. Every state also has different prices for Lap Band, as do different bariatric surgeons. On average, the cost of the Lap Band procedure is between $14,000 and $16,000. It can range from between $10,000 to $30,000. Keep in mind that the cost of LAP-Band is not solely based on the surgery itself. There are other considerations including:
Where you live also has an effect on the cost of your surgery. Surgeons in states like Minnesota and Idaho tend to charge more, on average, than those in Georgia or Texas.
Lap Band prices have remained steady over the past several years. There has been a decline in prices since 2002, due primarily to an increase in the number of surgeons trained in providing Lap Band, and due to the use of “Laparoscopic Techniques.” Laparoscopy is when a surgery is performed using a small camera and small tools, rather than making a large incision on the patient. However, since 2006, the cost of the LAP Band procedure has not experienced any further decline.
It should also be noted that adjustable gastric banding may come with additional expenses in the future. Although the LAP-Band is considered a safe and effective weight loss surgery, it does have a high failure and removal rate. As many as 50% of patients that receive the LAP Band eventually have it removed, or switch to another form of bariatric surgery, such as the gastric sleeve.
Insurance companies may not cover the cost of Lap Band revisions or removal. The cost to remove the Lap Band is often similar to the cost of receiving the Lap Band surgery, at around $15,000 on average. If switching to a new weight loss technique, the cost is likely to be higher.
There are also follow-up costs that may need to be considered for those on a tight budget. Gastric bypass requires regular checkups with your doctor to ensure the gastric band has remained in place. There may also be recommended meetings with nutritionists.
For many, however, the benefits of Lap-Band outweigh the costs. For those that are not ready for a permanent solution, such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, Lap Band does provide a potential tool to promote weight loss.
While its success rate is not as high as the permanent options, it can help you control obesity-related diseases, which is not only useful for your quality of life – it may also help you save money on the expensive costs of obesity-related medical coverage.
In 2014, a company known as Apollo Endosurgery bought the rights to the Lap Band from Allergan, the original patent holder in the United States. Thus far, costs associated with Lap-Band have remained unchanged since the sale, but it’s unclear how the market will react over the next few years. Wild fluctuations in Lap Band cost would be unexpected, but not unheard of if the procedure becomes less common in favor of other bariatric surgeries.
One solution may be to seek out Lap Band costs in other countries. Known as “medical tourism,” some countries are able to offer the same Lap Band surgery with at less cost. For example:
These prices may include travel, depending on the location of service. Depending on the medical center, they may also provide the same or better level of care than in the United States.