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General Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery - FAQs

Weight loss surgery

Bariatric surgery is now a common tool in the fight against obesity. Over 65% of all Australian adults and 25% of all Australian children are in the overweight to obese category. These numbers point to a chronic epidemic that needs long term solutions, not quick fixes. Weight loss surgery has been proven to be a viable, long term alternative for those struggling with their weight. Studies also proves its long term success.

However, weight loss surgery is not as simple as booking in a time, and there are several steps that need to be looked at and considered. People researching this type of surgery have many questions. We have answered some of the more frequently asked questions in order to give you a good understanding of what is involved in your decision making for Bariatric surgery.

How do I know if I qualify for weight loss surgery?

Strict guidelines for obesity surgery have been set out by obesity surgical societies and the National Institutes of Health. This is to ensure the safety of any bariatric procedure.

  • Your BMI is above 40 kg/m2
  • Your BMI is above 35 and you have a medical condition associated with obesity (comorbidity) 
  • You must be over 18 and under 70 years old

Comorbidities include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Depression
  • Fertility issues
  • Several forms of cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout

Patients must also have:

  • Acceptable level of operative risk
  • Understanding of the procedure and the risks associated
  • Absence of drug or alcohol problem
  • A willingness for a life-style change and follow up consultations

Calculate your BMI

Body Mass Calculation uses a person's height and weight. 

The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person's weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in metres squared. 

A BMI of 25.0 or more is overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9

Weight 140 kgs
Height 1.70 metres
Square metre of height (1.70 x 1.70) 2.89
BMI = 48

What does weight loss surgery cost?

Patient cost$
With medical insurance$8,000
Without medical insurance$23,000
Possibility of Superannuation accessYes*

*Private health insurance still required for gastric sleeves and bypass surgeries

The costs of having weight loss surgery are made up from a number of sources including:

  • Hospital bed stay charges
  • Hospital operating theatre session charges
  • Equipment used in the operating theatre session. Depending on the procedure  you are undergoing, these may include the gastric band itself, stapling devices
  • Professional fees charged by the medical staff involved in the procedure including the surgeon, anaesthetist and relevant assistants
  • Radiology
  • Pharmacy
  • Dietician
  • Robot (Bypass only)

Patients with Private Health Insurance

With a higher level of insurance cover, most hospital and equipment charges will be covered with no out of pocket (depending on your insurance arrangements, there may be an excess to pay). The out of pocket expenses for insured patients relate mostly to professional/clinic fees charged by the surgeon, anaesthetist and the Allied Health & Service assistant.

You should make enquiries with your insurance company to make sure you are covered for bariatric procedures:

Item numbers
Gastric Sleeve:  Item No. 31575
Gastric Bypass:  Item No. 31572
Gastric Banding: Item No. 31569

How much weight will I lose?

An example of an average patient’s success would be:

A person who is 172cm tall and weighs 125kg (BMI 42) has an excess weight of 51kg (based on using a BMI of 25 being an ideal weight of 74kg) would expect to lose:

  • Approximately 50% of their excess weight achieving around 95 – 99kg with a gastric band 
  • Approximately 70% of their excess weight thus achieving around 85 – 89kg post a sleeve or bypass

What are the dangers of weight loss surgery?

Any surgery comes with a degree of risk. These should be discussed with your bariatric surgeon in the initial consultation. Complications are minimised when the advice from your doctor and support staff are adhered to. 

Risks and complications associated with bariatric surgery include:

  • Dumping syndrome
  • Gallstones 
  • Hernia
  • Internal bleeding or profuse bleeding of the surgical wound
  • Leakage
  • Perforation of stomach or intestines
  • Pouch/anastomotic obstruction or bowel obstruction
  • Spleen or other organ injury
  • Stomach or intestine ulceration
  • Stricture
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Can I use my Superannuation?*

On the basis of compassionate medical grounds, you can apply for early release of superannuation funds to pay for weight loss surgery for yourself, your partner or your child (must be under the same roof). There are several forms to fill in and submit to the ATO so the first thing to do is make an appointment with your Bariatric Surgeon as they will be the ones to sign off on your application. 

We prefer to use a third party entitled supercare to expedite the process. This will incur a fee.

*Private health insurance is still required for gastric sleeves and bypass surgeries

Will I regain the weight after surgery?

50% of patients can put a small amount of weight back on. Do not be alarmed. This is as little as 5%. This may happen after a stabilisation period of 18 months to 2 year period. The long terms studies (10 years+) show most weight loss surgery patients are able to achieve and maintain significant weight loss.

Have more questions about weight loss surgery? Get in touch with our team and we will be happy to answer any questions that you have.


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