|Lap band surgery is the answer to the prayers of many patients suffering from morbid obesity and related disorders, such as hypertension and heart disease. In lap band surgery, an adjustable band is placed around the upper region of the stomach to restrict food intake and help patients feel full sooner. As a result, patients experience a dramatic reduction in weight within a period of six months to two years. The results of the lap band surgery are permanent. However, the cost of lap band surgery is quite prohibitive in the USA leading patients to look for cheaper alternatives elsewhere. But is cheap lap band surgery really possible? Does quality suffer if you opt for cheap lap band surgery? Not necessarily.|
In the USA, the cost of lap band surgery ranges from $20,000 to $30,000. Moreover, health plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid, cover the cost of the surgery only if you can prove dire medical necessity. This means your BMI has to be higher than 40, and you should be able to demonstrate a history of previous attempts at weight loss. Any patient who does not meet these requirements does not qualify for health plan coverage for the surgery. This effectively puts lap band surgery out of reach for many patients in the USA. An alternative they have is to get lap band in Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, New Delhi, Mumbai and other medical tourism destinations where it costs much less than in the West.
Some people believe that the low price is a trade off for quality in these places. Let’s examine some of the reasons why quality does not need to suffer if you go overseas for cheap lap band surgery.
The main reason that countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, and India are able to provide cheap lap band surgery is that the general cost of living there is lower than in USA. This means the cost of almost everything such as hospital prices, surgeon’s fee, food, and boarding is generally lower in these countries than in USA. What this does NOT mean is that the quality of the hospital or its services are in any way lower than that available in the USA.
In addition, the bands used in Mexico, Costa Rica or India are the same as the ones used in USA. So you need not fear that an inferior quality band is being used in cheap lap band surgery. If in any doubt, you can crosscheck with your surgeon about the band being used. The FDA approved bands are INAMED and Realize. The INAMED band is produced by INAMED Health, which is now owned by Allergan. For a long time, INAMED was the only FDA approved band. The Realize adjustable band is produced by Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon Endo-Surgery (EES) subsidiary. FDA approved the Realize band in September 2007.
Another good reason for traveling overseas for cheap lab band surgery is that the surgeons in these locations are in many cases more experienced than surgeons in USA. This is because FDA approved lap band surgery in USA only in 2001. However, in Mexico for instance, lap band surgery has been successfully performed since 1996. This means bariatric lap band surgeons in Mexico have more than 10 years experience in this surgery as compared to 5 to 6 years experience of US lap band surgeons.
According to a study by C. Cornell and colleagues, Bariatric Institute of Chicago, Hinsdale, examining the results of lap band two years after the surgery, published in the July 2012 edition of Postgraduate Medicine, lap band “safely and effectively facilitated weight loss in morbidly obese patients, with clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life and obesity-related comorbidities”. Nonetheless, when traveling overseas for cheap lap band surgery, you need to be careful to choose only an international quality hospital and a reputed, top notch surgeon. For this, verify the track record of the hospitals and the credentials of the surgeons you are considering.
Cheap is a relative term; but if you compare the cost of lap band in the USA to that in Mexico, Costa Rica or India, it is cheaper by about 50% for the same quality of medical care.
Medical-Trip facilitates low-cost lap band surgery in India, Mexico, Jordan, and Belgium. For more information, fill the estimate-request form on the right.