Duodenal Switch: Cost of Surgery

Duodenal switch is a form of weight loss surgery that was developed as a variation of the biliopancreatic diversion surgery method. The difference between the two is that this surgical procedure leaves a large part of the stomach intact. It is also known as vertical gastrectomy with duodenal switch or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD-DS or DS). This surgery uses two techniques, either restrictive or malabsorptive, in order to help patients lose excess weight. This is done by reducing the stomach’s size and rerouting the digestive tract so that it bypasses a portion of the small intestine.

Cost Considerations

The total cost of a surgery typically involves all post-op visits as well as the surgeon’s fee, facility fee, any anesthesia and a hospital stay. The amount of time one stays in the hospital post-surgery depends on the procedure administered as well as their current health.

The bariatric surgery can cost anywhere from $25,000-$40,000 in the United States. If the patient considers medical tourism, the cost can be significantly lower. These facilities uphold various medical standards that make them safe and efficient. Typically medical tourism packages will include post-op visits with the doctor and/or nutritionist, hospital stay and hotel stay to rest before one can safely fly.

It is also important that prospective patients understand that they will endure about $1,500 a year for the rest of their life for various vitamins and supplements that they need to function properly. However, those who have duodenal switch surgery typically have a lower overall prescription medicine cost in their lifetime. This is because the surgery helps to reduce symptoms caused by diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and more.

Some insurance companies may cover a portion or all of the surgery if they feel the patient is at risk for death or further medical diagnosis as a result of their morbid obesity. After a consultation with a bariatric surgeon, a doctor can create a Letter of Necessity that a candidate can send to their insurance company. The document will explain the reason for the medical intervention, their current health condition and what surgery would do to the state of their overall health. Insurance will determine if a candidate is eligible for this information. This is called pre-authorization or pre-certification. If confirmation of pre-authorization is received then the doctor can proceed with the surgery route.

Success Rates Versus Cost

According to multiple studies, duodenal switch surgery is excellent at achieving and helping a patient to maintain long-term weight loss. This occurs with a very low rate of complications and a 3-5 day hospital stay post-op. Many studies have shown a 98.9% resolution of Type II Diabetes; 75.1% resolution in high blood pressure; 99.1% in high cholesterol; 91.9% of obstructive sleep apnea and overall improved quality of life.

The positive results from duodenal switch surgery detailed above really show what a great option this surgery remains and has been for morbid obesity patients. If there is a will, there’s a way. The cost of the surgery ultimately outweighs the improved health a patient receives post-op hands down.


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