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Are you considering weight loss surgery?

28 February, 2018
Bariatric surgery

What is bariatric (weight loss) surgery?

Weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery is surgery that affects your stomach and how you digest food. It's designed to make your stomach much smaller, which causes you to feel full after eating only a small amount of food. You eat less food and absorb fewer calories after bariatric surgery.

What are the most common types of weight loss surgery?

The most common types in Australia are lap band surgery, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. The surgery is usually done as a keyhole procedure, in which there are many small cuts in your abdomen.

Lap band surgery (also known as gastric banding) involves an inflatable, adjustable band being placed around the top part of your stomach. It creates a very small pouch that increases the time food remains in your gut.

Gastric bypass decreases the size of the stomach and changes the way the stomach and small intestine absorb food. A small stomach pouch created by stapling is joined directly to the small intestine after some of the intestine has been removed. Food bypasses most of the stomach and fewer calories are absorbed.

Gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of a large part of your stomach, including the part that produces a hormone which makes you feel hungry.

Do I qualify for weight loss surgery?

The first step is usually to try changes to what you eat and drink, and what daily activity and exercise you do. There are some medications that can help people lose weight. Surgery is usually thought about only after these other options have been tried.

Even then, those considering surgery should think carefully about the risks of obesity as opposed to the chance of success and possible side effects of surgery.

Ultimately, you need to consult with your doctor about whether weight loss surgery is suitable for you. They will consider your BMI, your efforts to lose weight by other means, and your ability to perform daily tasks.

Which type of weight loss surgery is right for me?

Many factors will determine which type of surgery is the best type for you, including how much weight you need to lose and any illnesses you might have.

Your doctor will do a detailed assessment and discuss with you the best option, including the risks.

Are there any risks?

Every operation has risks. You might pick up an infection, lose a lot of blood, or react to the anaesthetic. Ask your doctor and surgeon about the risks involved.

What can I expect after weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery may help with initial weight loss, but to continue to lose weight or keep it off you will need to make significant lifestyle changes. A dietitian or nutritionist may assist you to make these changes. Some people might also have to take vitamin and mineral supplements after weight loss surgery.

What are the alternatives to weight loss surgery?

The alternatives to weight loss surgery are lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or lifestyle changes combined with weight-loss medications. Ask your doctor for advice on your options.

CBHS Better Living is a series of programs that can help you take control of your health. Get tailored guidance, advice and practical solutions from the right professionals, and start your better living. Check out how CBHS can help you before you decide on radical surgery. Follow this link for details of how we can help

How can CBHS help me with the cost weight loss surgery?

Hospital admissions for weight loss surgery more than doubled in the last decade, new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows. It is important to remember weight loss surgery in public hospitals is rare and there can be significant out of pocket expenses related to weight loss surgery whether it is performed in a public or private hospital.

Is weight loss surgery included in my cover with CBHS?

Weight loss surgery is restricted or excluded on some CBHS hospital covers. This means you will be significantly out of pocket if you attend a private hospital.

The best covers for you to hold if you are having weight loss surgery are:

You can check the level of you cover at the CBHS Member Centre  or by calling our Member Care Team on 1300 654 123.

 Can I join or upgrade and have weight loss surgery straight away?

Weight loss surgery will almost always be considered pre-existing. The test applied under the law relies on the presence of signs or symptoms of the illness, ailment or condition; not on a diagnosis. It is not necessary for the member or their doctor to know what their condition is, or for it to be diagnosed. In forming an opinion about whether an illness is a pre-existing condition, CBHS’s appointed medical practitioner who makes the decision will consider information provided by your treating doctor.

This means you may have to wait 12 months if you are new to CBHS or if your level of cover needs to be upgraded.

Follow this link for more information

How can I find out how much it is going to cost?

Before going into hospital, you should obtain a quote or informed financial consent from all the specialists and medical professionals involved in your hospital and medical treatment. This way you will be aware of all out-of-pocket expenses before your admission.

Follow this link for more information

Your expenses will fall into two categories.

Hospital costs which relates to your accommodation and theatre fees.

You should also obtain a quote from CBHS to understand your hospital out-of-pocket costs.

Medical costs which relates to treatment provided by your doctors.

The next step is to obtain an informed financial consent or itemised quote from your doctors. These medical professionals may include your anaesthetist, surgeon, radiologist and pathologist. Having access to quotes allows you to plan for the costs of your stay more effectively.

Note that if your doctors participate in CBHS’s Access Gap Cover scheme, you may not receive a bill as the doctor may forward the bill directly to CBHS for payment.

You should also get a quote from CBHS to understand the out-of-pocket payment related to your medical services.


All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
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