How Much Does Gastric Band Surgery Cost?
In the UK, the average cost of gastric band surgery is between £5,390 and £9,000. However, certain clinics and private medical firms do offer deals and offers and some UK companies offer a more affordable service. If financing the surgery is a major concern, some clinics and private practices offer repayment plans. If you qualify, the cost can be covered by way of monthly instalments at 0% interest, and other options such as 'buy now pay later' and even tailored repayment plans, are available in some cases.
What Do Patients Get For Their Money?
Watch Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Weight Loss Surgery Ltd, explain the average cost of a gastric band and what that cost will cover:
"A gastric band is around 5,390 Pounds. That obviously includes the surgery, all the aftercare. With us it includes psychology, specialist nurse, dietitian, personal trainer, and as much access to me as the patient's need, and as many fills or defills as the patient's need."
Mr Chris Sutton, Consultant Specialist Bariatric Surgeon at Tonic Weight Loss Surgery Ltd
Financing Gastric Band Surgery
To assist with the issue of finance, many weight loss clinics work alongside loan companies or have their own credit services and finance packages available.
As with all loans and credit, the patient will need to meet certain criteria. This varies between companies but you will be required to be employed and to bring along to your consultation recent pay slips and bank statements as proof of income and a utility bill.
- Pay before surgery; this involves paying a large deposit when you book your appointment followed by monthly installments before the procedure takes place.
- Pay a deposit, have the surgery, then pay the remainder in monthly installments.
- Get finance to cover the whole procedure and pay in monthly installments after the surgery.
- Some clinics offer a 0% finance option with a repayment period of between 6 to 12 months. If installments are to be paid over more than 12 months, then interest is usually charged.
Can I Get A Gastric Band With Poor Credit?
As with any financial product or service you undertake, a credit check will be carried out to determine whether or not you meet the criteria for a loan or other repayment scheme. A poor credit record can adversely affect your chances of getting the best financing deal, but you may still be eligible for credit and financing at a somewhat higher interest rate. Each clinic or third party finance company will differ, so shop around wisely to get the best deal you can. It's also advisable to speak with a financial adviser before taking out a loan or entering into any finance agreement.
Gastric Band Surgery Through The NHS
Yes, provided you meet certain criteria. NHS consultants will only offer the surgery as a final option, and if you have tried every other means of losing weight and/or making different lifestyle choices without success. Requirements for gastric band surgery on the NHS include:
- Having a BMI of 35 or over, especially if you have a life threatening illness such as type II diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- If your BMI is 40 or above, and it looks likely you'll develop life threatening illnesses if your weight issues are not addressed.
Even if you do fit the above criteria, it's preferable to try and lose some weight prior to being considered for surgery. And if you can show you have made a commitment to taking regular exercise, you will be in an even better position to take advantage of gastric band surgery on the NHS.
It is important to remember, however, that this may be an unattractive option to many patients as waiting lists can stretch to anywhere between two and three years.
Gastric Band Surgery Abroad
With the average cost of lap band procedures in the UK so high, it is little surprise many people choose to travel abroad for surgery.
Countries such as Spain, Brussels, Mexico and even India offer gastric bands at exceptionally low prices compared to the UK, with surgery costing as little as £3,400 in some countries.
It isn't too difficult to see why more and more people are going abroad for their operation.
However, it is important to consider what will happen if something was to go wrong with your surgery or recovery. If you have not taken out the correct insurance the cost could increase significantly as a result of follow up treatments and/or additional medication. The trip could end up costing more than a procedure in the UK if you do not think about every possibility before you make the decision.
It is therefore advised that prospective medical tourism patients conduct thorough research beforehand on their clinic and surgeon. It is also advised patients find out what after-care is included in the initial cost and whether their travel insurance policy will cover the cost of any complications that might be encountered whilst abroad.
It is also recommended prospective surgical holidaymakers take in to account various other costs likely to be arise when receiving treatment abroad, such as flights, accommodation and transport before making the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery in another country.
Your surgeon will provide you with instructions regarding how to prepare for your procedure in plenty of time.
As smoking increases the risk of clotting and infection, your surgeon will suggest that you abstain from smoking leading up to your surgery. Smoking can also prolong the time it takes to recover from an operation, and so should be avoided. You will also be provided with an eating plan that is designed to help you lose weight ahead of the procedure. The more weight that is lost beforehand, the lower the chances of complications during the operation. A low-fat, low-carb diet can also help to reduce the size of the liver, making it easier for the surgeon to correctly fit the band. As anesthesia can cause sickness and vomiting, it is vital to fast six hours ahead of the procedure. This is to ensure the stomach is empty as the band is fitted, and if you fail to fast, your surgeon may reschedule your procedure.
You may be asked to wear compression stockings for your surgery, as these can stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of clotting.
A gastric band can be fitted through laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, meaning there is no need for one large incision.
Instead, the surgeon will normally make four to five small incisions, one of which will be used to insert the laparoscope so that the surgeon can see inside. Through the others, the surgeon will insert the band around the upper part of the stomach. A fine piece of tubing is then connected under the skin to the access port, so that saline fluid can be inserted to adjust the size of the opening to the stomach. The band is then secured in place, and the incisions are sutured shut with dissolvable stitches. It may be the case that the band needs readjusting in the weeks following the surgery, which can be easily done as an outpatient procedure.
The procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic, and takes about one hour to complete.
Alongside the risks of infection and clotting that normally accompany any kind of surgery, there are some risks of complications that can arise specifically as a result of having a gastric band.
The tissue around the band or the tube under your skin may become infected, for example. It is also possible that other organs in your abdomen area can be impacted or damaged during the operation, such as the spleen. This risk is heightened during keyhole surgery. It could be the case that when performing a keyhole procedure, the surgeon discovers abnormalities or obstacles, and has to resort to open surgery. This can result in a longer recovery time.
The band itself may slip out of place, which can be corrected with surgery. The gastric band could also leak or deflate, or even make it’s way through to stomach wall, all of which will require corrective surgery to be put right. Patients are also at risk of developing gallstones after having a gastric band fitted.
Once you awake, you may find that you are receiving fluids through a drip. You will be able to have water as you need it, along with pain relief as required.
Once you feel able, you will be encouraged to get up and start moving around, as this can increase blood flow and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVP), which occurs when blood clots in the legs. Some patients may feel well enough to return home that day, and some are discharged within 24 hours of undergoing the procedure. This is at the discretion of the surgeon however, and so you may have to stay in for a couple of days longer if deemed necessary. You will need to return to the hospital six weeks after the procedure to have the fluid inserted into the band (through the access port) and to check it is in the right position. By this time, you should be fully recovered from your initial surgery.
It is likely that you will experience some swelling, bruising, pain and tenderness once the gastric band has been fitted, and you may feel sick as you eat. Once your body adjusts to the new portion sizes however, this should dissipate in time.
Your stitches should dissolve within seven to 10 days of your procedure, and you will be encouraged to keep moving and stay active during your recovery. Most patients will have made a full recovery and feel able to resume normal activities within one to two weeks of the procedure, but this can vary between individuals. If you are experiencing any pain, you may be offered over-the-counter painkillers or prescription pain medication to assist with this.
You may need to start with liquid and pureed foods before moving onto solids. During this time, you may also take mineral and vitamin supplements. You should also start to introduce gentle exercise as you feel able, as this will help with your weight loss.