Cost of Bariatric Surgery: 2014 Surgeon Survey & Key Findings
According to our 2014 Weight Loss Surgery Cost Survey, the cost of bariatric surgery without insurance in the United States ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 for the three most common procedures: gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding (lap band surgery).
For cost information outside of the U.S., follow these links...
Use the interactive tool below to find the average cost by procedure for your area (key findings from our survey are reviewed further down this page)...
2014 Bariatric Surgery Cost Survey: Interactive Map
If you are unable to view the interactive tool, click here to jump down the page to the table with data for every state.
The rest of this page will cover weight loss surgery costs specific to the UNITED STATES...
- Key Findings from the Bariatric Surgery Source 2014 Bariatric Surgery Cost Survey
- Cost Breakdown – What does the money go towards?
- Bariatric Surgery Insurance, Financing & Taxes (on a separate page)
We contacted hundreds of bariatric surgeons across the United States and learned several important points that aren't reflected in the quoted costs of bariatric surgery alone.
The following sections on this page review the key takeaways...
- Procedures Performed
- You May Be Able to Obtain Weight Loss Surgery Insurance
- Options Offered to Self-Pay Patients
- Weight Loss Surgery Discounts & Other Financial Considerations
- Almost all practices offer gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery.
- A rapidly increasing percentage of practices called gastric sleeve surgery their new "surgery of choice", meaning the surgery most often recommended to patients by their surgeons.
- An increasing percentage are also no longer offering gastric band surgery (lap band surgery), citing a high rate of long-term complications and lap band removals. Interestingly, a few practices in the United States still ONLY offer lap band surgery.
- A relatively low percentage of practices offer duodenal switch surgery, although most practices recognize this procedure as an appropriate option for the right patients.
- Least to Most Expensive Procedures - For almost every practice, the cost of the 4 most common procedures from least to most expensive is as follows:
- Least Expensive: Gastric banding surgery (e.g., Lap Band surgery) costs $15,000 on average in the United States
- Gastric sleeve surgery costs $19,000 on average in the United States
- Gastric bypass surgery costs $24,000 on average in the United States (note that it was relatively common for gastric bypass and gastric sleeve to be quoted at the same cost, although more often than not, gastric sleeve was the lower cost procedure)
- Most Expensive: Duodenal switch surgery costs $27,000 on Average in the United States
- Least to Most Recommended Procedures - In aggregate, following were the least to most recommended procedures among all of the surgeons we contacted:
- Least Recommended: Duodenal switch - least recommended because most surgeons do not perform this procedure
- Gastric banding (lap band) - second least recommended because of long-term complications and band removals
- Gastric bypass - still the surgery of choice for some surgeons, but most are now recommending gastric sleeve first due to its relative safety, success rates and lower cost
- Most Recommended: Gastric sleeve
You May Be Able to Obtain Weight Loss Surgery Insurance
Bariatric Surgery Insurance, Medicare, Financing & Taxes
If you have private insurance through your employer or an individual plan, weight loss surgery may or may not be covered. Insurance companies are increasingly including bariatric surgery in their plans, but many still consider it elective.
See our Bariatric Surgery Insurance page ( incl. gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, duodenal switch and lap band insurance ) to figure out whether it is included in your plan along with the steps necessary to get the surgery approved.
If you’re covered by Medicare, as of 2006 coverage was expanded nationally to include bariatric surgery.3 Certain criteria still need to be met, but as long as you do your research and choose the right doctor, you’ll be covered. See our Medicare Bariatric Surgery page for all of the details.
If you do not have insurance or if weight loss surgery is not covered under your insurance policy, you still have several viable options for reducing your costs and making surgery more affordable.
Click here to review our Bariatric Surgery Financing page for all of your potential financing options along with strategies to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
- Important Consideration if You Don't Have Insurance - The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") requires insurers to offer the same coverage to all subscribers with no medical underwriting. In other words, insurers can no longer charge you more based on current health conditions.
If the insurance companies in your state's Healthcare Exchange include bariatric surgery - and according to the ASMBS, 22 of 50 states do - it may be less expensive to go ahead and sign up for insurance.
Click here for the full scoop on insurance and weight loss surgery.
- If you have insurance but it doesn't cover bariatric surgery, you'll probably be able to get some of your expenses covered. According to several surgeons interviewed, insurance companies decide whether or not to pay depending on how the bill is submitted to them (which "CPT codes" are associated with the bill). If the bill could have been for a non-bariatric surgery procedure, insurance will often pay.
For example, your insurance may still pay for pre-op visits such as all of the medical clearance required before surgery (e.g. lab work, cardiology clearance, psychology clearance, medically-supervised diet program, etc.) and longer-term post-op visits that can be managed by your primary care physician (e.g. malabsorption issues, vitamin deficiency, etc.).
We were surprised to see such a variety of options offered for self-pay patients, ranging from "we don't work with self-pay patients" to all-inclusive packaged prices...
- Some Surgeons Don't Offer a Self-Pay Option - Several practices we contacted will only work with patients who have insurance. If the first surgeon you contact tells you this, don't be discouraged. It is likely that other surgeons in your area will be happy to work with you through a "piece-meal" approach or even through an "all-inclusive" packaged price (many of which also offer financing options)...
- Piece-Meal Approach - Some programs offer a "piece-meal" pricing approach, meaning they can only quote you the cost of the surgeon's and surgeon assistant's fees. They are unable to provide the cost of other services such as hospital fees, anesthesiologist fees or pre-op visits not related to their office. Most of these surgeons can provide phone numbers for you to conduct that cost research on your own.
These surgeons also tend to charge separately for every office visit, including pre-op preparatory visits (e.g. initial surgeon consultation, dietitian, psychologist, cardiologist, sleep study, etc) and post-op follow up visits (especially costly for lap band patients needing multiple band adjustments). Other procedures required during surgery such as hernia repair would also add to the costs.
Further, some of these practices will charge different amounts based on age and body mass index.
If your surgeon takes this pricing approach, be sure to ask them about each of these cost components so there are no surprises.
- All-Inclusive Packages - Many programs will quote you an up-front, all-inclusive cost. In other words, no matter what happens, you will know your exact costs ahead of time without needing to figure out all of the components on your own. If any costs are not included in the package (such as pre- or post-op office visits), they will explicitly outline those as well.
These programs often include between 3 and 13 months of follow up visits (including lap band fills/unfills, if you choose that procedure) in their packaged price.
Note that most practices will not have an all-inclusive rate ready for duodenal switch since it is much less commonly performed than the other procedures.
- Self-Pay Discounts - Most programs will offer some sort of self-pay discount to patients without insurance. However, discounts vary widely and don't always extend to every part of the the price.
- Other Discounts - Some practices offer additional discounts based on when full payment is received. For example, you may receive a discount if you pay the full fee up front (note that some practices require full up-front payment).
- Same Surgeon, Different Hospitals - Many surgeons have operating privileges at more than one hospital in the area. Since hospital charges are usually out of the surgeon's control (and are by far the most costly component of surgery), find out if the surgeon can perform your surgery at more than one hospital and, if so, whether there is a difference in the hospital fee between hospitals.
For example, one office we contacted quoted a difference of more than $10,000 between hospitals.
Keep in mind that this does not change where your pre-op and post-op visits will take place; it ONLY affects where your actual surgery is performed.
- Taxes - When asking about prices, be sure to find out whether taxes are included.
Speaking of taxes, did you know that you may be able to deduct part or all of your expenses related to bariatric surgery? See our Tax Section for more details.
- What if Complications Arise During or After Surgery? Each practice takes their own approach to covering the cost of complications; some pledge to pay for them should they arise (via programs like BLIS or other arrangements) while others ask patients to pay.
- Financing - Many programs will offer some sort of financing or payment plans either directly or through a 3rd party. See our Financing Bariatric Surgery page or contact your local surgeon for more details.
- Up-Front Payment - Programs that do not offer financing often require full payment up front.
For an exact quote from a surgeon near you, click here to find a top a local surgeon.
Following is the full list of average weight loss surgery costs by state...
ALABAMA surgeons surveyed are located in Birmingham, Decatur, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa
ALASKA surgeons surveyed are located in Anchorage
ARIZONA surgeons surveyed are located in Flagstaff, Mesa, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson
ARKANSAS surgeons surveyed are located in El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock and Pine Bluff
CALIFORNIA surgeons surveyed are located in Bakersfield, Burbank, Chico, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, La Jolla, Modesto, Oakland, Poway, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Barbara
COLORADO surgeons surveyed are located in Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins
CONNECTICUT surgeons surveyed are located in Farmington, Glastonbury, Meriden, Middletown, New Haven, Norwalk, Shelton and Stamford
DELAWARE surgeons surveyed are located in Dover, Newark and Wilmington
FLORIDA surgeons surveyed are located in Ft. Meyers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Ocala, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach
GEORGIA surgeons surveyed are located in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Decatur, Macon, Marietta and Savannah
HAWAII surgeons surveyed are located in Aiea, Kailua-Kona, Honolulu and Wailuku
IDAHO surgeons surveyed are located in Boise, Meridian, Montpelier, Nampa, Pocatello and Post Falls
ILLINOIS surgeons surveyed are located in Chicago, Champaign, Decatur, Naperville, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield
INDIANA surgeons surveyed are located in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis and South Bend
IOWA surgeons surveyed are located in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines and Iowa City
KENTUCKY surgeons surveyed are located in Lexington, Louisville and other towns.
LOUISIANA surgeons surveyed are located in Alexandria, New Orleans, Shreveport and other towns
MAINE surgeons surveyed are located in Augusta, Bangor, Portland and other towns
MARYLAND surgeons surveyed are located in Baltimore, Salisbury and other towns
MASSACHUSETTS surgeons surveyed are located in Boston, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and other towns.
MICHIGAN surgeons surveyed are located in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and other towns.
MINNESOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Rochester and other towns
MISSISSIPPI surgeons surveyed are located in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, Tupelo and other towns.
MISSOURI surgeons surveyed are located in Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis and other towns
MONTANA surgeons surveyed are located in Billings, Bozeman, Helena and other towns
NEBRASKA surgeons surveyed are located in Lincoln, Omaha and other towns
NEVADA surgeons surveyed are located in Henderson, Las Vegas and Reno Areas
|NEW HAMPSHIRE||Gastric Bypass||$31,500|
|NEW HAMPSHIRE||Gastric Sleeve||$20,400|
|NEW HAMPSHIRE||Lap Band||$19,850|
NEW HAMPSHIRE surgeons surveyed are located in Manchester, Nashua and other towns
|NEW JERSEY||Duodenal Switch||$24,000|
|NEW JERSEY||Gastric Bypass||$26,467|
|NEW JERSEY||Gastric Sleeve||$18,033|
|NEW JERSEY||Lap Band||$12,300|
NEW JERSEY surgeons surveyed are located in Newark, Trenton and Other Areas
|NEW MEXICO||Gastric Bypass||$17,640|
|NEW MEXICO||Gastric Sleeve||$14,167|
|NEW MEXICO||Lap Band||$14,500|
NEW MEXICO surgeons surveyed are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Other Areas
|NEW YORK||Gastric Bypass||$32,194|
|NEW YORK||Gastric Sleeve||$27,620|
|NEW YORK||Lap Band||$19,325|
NEW YORK surgeons surveyed are located in Albany, Buffalo, New York City / Manhattan, Rochester, Watertown and Other Areas
|NORTH CAROLINA||Gastric Bypass||$28,312|
|NORTH CAROLINA||Gastric Sleeve||$22,478|
|NORTH CAROLINA||Lap Band||$17,193|
NORTH CAROLINA surgeons surveyed are located in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Other Areas
|NORTH DAKOTA||Gastric Bypass||$35,000|
|NORTH DAKOTA||Gastric Sleeve||$27,500|
|NORTH DAKOTA||Lap Band||$18,750|
NORTH DAKOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Bismarck and Grand Forks
OHIO surgeons surveyed are located in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Other Areas
OKLAHOMA surgeons surveyed are located in Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Other Areas
PENNSYLVANIA surgeons surveyed are located in Allentown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Other Areas
RHODE ISLAND surgeons surveyed are located in Providence
|SOUTH CAROLINA||Gastric Bypass||$25,167|
|SOUTH CAROLINA||Gastric Sleeve||$19,000|
|SOUTH CAROLINA||Lap Band||$12,250|
SOUTH CAROLINA surgeons surveyed are located in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill and Other Areas
|SOUTH DAKOTA||Gastric Bypass||$25,500|
|SOUTH DAKOTA||Gastric Sleeve||$12,500|
|SOUTH DAKOTA||Lap Band||$13,333|
SOUTH DAKOTA surgeons surveyed are located in Dakota Dunes, Rapid City and Sioux Falls
TENNESSEE surgeons surveyed are located in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville
TEXAS surgeons surveyed are located in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas / Ft. Worth, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio
UTAH surgeons surveyed are located in Provo, Salt Lake City and St. George
VERMONT surgeons surveyed are located in Burlington, Montpelier and Springfield
VIRGINIA surgeons surveyed are located in Charlottesville, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Other Towns
WASHINGTON surgeons surveyed are located in Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver and Other Areas
|WASHINGTON DC||Gastric Bypass||$20,463|
|WASHINGTON DC||Gastric Sleeve||$17,850|
|WASHINGTON DC||Lap Band||$12,638|
|WEST VIRGINIA||Gastric Bypass||$19,104|
|WEST VIRGINIA||Gastric Sleeve||$17,453|
|WEST VIRGINIA||Lap Band||$16,389|
WEST VIRGINIA surgeons surveyed are located in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown and Vienna
WISCONSIN surgeons surveyed are located in Eu Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Other Areas
WYOMING surgeons surveyed are located in Afton, Cheyenne and Riverton
Exact Quote for You
Click here to find a top surgeon near you. Their office will be able to provide you with a more exact quote.
When contacting your local surgeon, ask about financing options, a free insurance check (if you have insurance) and how to sign up for their free local seminar.
Note: Prices listed above are averages; surgeons may charge higher or lower prices.
Average Cost Bariatric Surgery by Zip Code: SURGEON FEES ONLY
While not all inclusive, the Consumer Cost Lookup Tool by FAIR Health is becoming increasingly useful.
The tool pulls insurance claims data for ONLY surgeon fees during surgery (and anesthesiology fees if you choose that option) based on the most recent 12 months insurance claims data by zip code.
To use this tool to find average surgeon fees for your area, follow these instructions:
2. In the "Step 1" box, enter your zip code
3. In the "Step 2" box, select "Insured" or "Uninsured"
4. In the "Step 3" box, enter one of the following CPT codes:
- Gastric banding (lap band): 43770
- Gastric bypass: 43644
- Gastric sleeve: 43775 or 43848 (depends how surgeon processes the claim)
- Duodenal switch: 43845
- Gastric bypass revision: 43848
5. Click the "Go" button
7. On the results page...
- Your total estimated SURGEON ONLY fee will be provided in the box
- To see the estimated anesthesiology fee, click the "A" square found in the table's "CPT Code" column, just below the CPT code (note that if you add this, a new total will appear in the "Estimated Out-of-Pocket Cost" box)
- If you selected "Uninsured", you may still see "Reimbursement Percentage is set at 70%" in the purple box. We asked about this while interviewing FAIR Health, and this line should not be there for the Uninsured rate; it only applies if you selected "Insured".
Again, the quoted fees are the average SURGEON ONLY COSTS DURING SURGERY (and anesthesiology if you select that option). They do not include Pre-op or Post-Op costs or other cost components during surgery.
During our interview we also learned that a hospital cost feature is currently being developed (launch date to be determined), although there are no plans to add other elements such as surgical assistant fees or device fees.
Regardless of who pays, there are several cost components that must be paid before, during and after weight loss surgery surgery...
Pre-Op (Costs Before Surgery)
- Physician-supervised weight loss program (required prior to surgery approval)
- Dietitian/nutritionist consultations
- Psychologist (mental health clearance)
- Cardiologist (heart health clearance)
- Lab/blood work, echocardiogram (also known as an "ECG" or "EKG") and/or X-Ray fees
- Surgeon consultation fees
- Sleep study
Costs During Surgery
- Hospital fees
- Surgeon fees
- Surgical assistant's fee
- Anesthesia fees
- Operating room fees
- Device fees
Post-Op (Costs After Surgery)
- Follow-up doctor visits (including lap band adjustments, if applicable)
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References for Cost Bariatric Surgery
- HealthGrades. 2009/2010 Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award:
Bariatric Surgery Patients Have 67 Percent Lower Chance of
Complications at Top-Performing Hospitals. July 2009. Available at:
2009-10-Bariatric-Surgery-Excellence-Announcement.aspx. Accessed: Nov 18, 2009.
- Edward H. Livingston. Bariatric Surgery Outcomes at Designated Centers of Excellence vs Nondesignated Programs. Arch Surg. 2009;144(4):319-325.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. MEDICARE EXPANDS NATIONAL COVERAGE FOR BARIATRIC SURGERY PROCEDURES. Feb 2006. Available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=1786