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The pros and cons of weight loss surgery

Updated Mon Jan 04 12:23:07 UTC 2021

Use CareCredit for Weight Loss procedures financing

Weight loss surgery can help you lose weight and lower your risk of medical issues associated with obesity. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or you suffer from a weight-related medical condition and your BMI is 35 or higher, you may be a good candidate for bariatric surgery. You must also be willing to make lifestyle changes to help keep the weight off. Read on for an overview of popular options and the pros and cons of weight loss surgery for each type of weight loss procedure.

Types of bariatric surgery

Gastric bypass pros and cons

Gastric bypass surgery, also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, separates the stomach into two parts that includes a stomach pouch, and then connects the upper part of the stomach directly to the lower part of the small intestine, altering the digestive process. Since the procedure limits the amount of food you can comfortably eat and drink, you’ll feel full sooner.

Pros: Quick, dramatic weight loss and good long-term results. It can also improve issues with acid reflux.

Cons: Since it changes the way your body absorbs food, you’ll have to take supplements for the rest of your life to ensure your body gets enough nutrients. The surgery is irreversible, and you’ll need to follow a strict diet and eating habits to prevent complications.

Lap band pros and cons

Also known as adjustable gastric banding, this procedure involves placing a band containing an inflatable balloon across the upper part of your stomach. The balloon controls how tight or loose the band is, which helps limit how much food you can comfortably eat, so you’ll feel full sooner. Some people who qualify for a gastric lap band may want to consider a gastric balloon: a less-invasive, non-surgical procedure in which inflated silicone balloons are temporarily placed inside the stomach for about six months, creating less room for food, so you won’t want to eat as much.

Pros: Quick weight loss, less invasive than other types of bariatric surgery, smaller scar, faster recovery, and the lap band can easily be adjusted or removed.

Cons: Less dramatic weight loss over time, lap band may slip out of place and need adjustments over time.

Gastric sleeve pros and cons

A gastric sleeve procedure, or sleeve gastrectomy, removes most of the stomach, leaving a narrow portion of the upper stomach. The amount of food you’re able to eat, as well as the hormone that controls hunger, is restricted, so you’ll feel less hungry and full sooner.

Pros: Quick, dramatic weight loss; and a good option when other types of weight loss surgeries are too risky; less likely to create a long-term nutrient deficiency compared to other types of bariatric surgeries.

Cons: Gastric sleeve surgery is irreversible.

Duodenal switch pros and cons

Also called biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, this weight loss surgery is more invasive than other weight loss surgeries, removing up to 70% of your stomach and your gallbladder. During duodenal switch surgery, a small pouch is created to bypass most of the small intestine, limiting how much you can eat and preventing your body from absorbing nutrients. This type of weight loss surgery is usually recommended for people with a BMI of 50 or higher.

Pros: More dramatic and faster weight loss than a gastric bypass

Cons: More invasive surgery with a higher risk of complications; you’ll need to take daily nutrition supplements.

How much does weight loss surgery cost?

Weight loss surgery options can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000.1 Average costs can vary widely depending on the type of surgery, the surgeon’s fee and the hospital you choose. Additional costs can include anesthesia, device fees, consultations and follow-up care. Some insurance carriers may cover the cost of weight loss surgery if it’s considered to be medically necessary.

Factors to consider if you’re thinking about weight loss surgery

Talk to your doctor if you’re considering weight loss surgery to discuss your options and determine the best type of weight loss surgery for your health and your goals. Keep in mind that you’ll be expected to change your lifestyle habits, committing to a new diet and a regular exercise program.

The CareCredit credit card is an easy way to pay for weight loss surgery, consultations, products and other treatments related to weight loss. Use the Acceptance Locator or download the CareCredit Mobile App to find a healthcare provider near you that accepts CareCredit.

CareCredit provides information solely for your convenience. Please always consult with a physician on any medical decisions. Neither Synchrony nor any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, make any representations or warranties regarding the products or services described.

Use CareCredit for Weight Loss procedures financing

1Paying for Weight Loss Surgery,” WebMD, reviewed by Sarah Goodell on Nov. 6, 2019,, accessed July 1, 2020
“Is weight loss surgery right for you?” WebMD, reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, M.D., on Jan. 25, 2020,, accessed July 8, 2020
“Choosing a Type of Weight Loss Surgery,” WebMD, reviewed by Melinda Ratini, D.O., M.S., on March 26, 2018,,accessed July 1, 2020
“Guide to Types of Weight Loss Surgery,” Mayo Clinic, posted Feb. 7, 2020, ,, accessed July 10, 2020
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