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Are you considering Bariatric Surgery as a weight loss option? You will find a lot of information about weight loss surgery which can take some time to research and read. However, there are some really cool facts for you here, extracted from years of research to help you understand the history of Bariatric surgery and how popular it has become today as a valid and safe weight loss option.

Five Bariatric Surgery Facts

#1 – The youngest known weight loss surgery patient to date was only twelve years old.  In a small number of cases, a child could potentially require assistance with weight loss in order to treat other serious health conditions.  Bariatric surgery is the last option for children who are dealing with comorbidities, and are at greater risk due to obesity. Weight loss surgery in children does not interfere with the body’s normal growing and developing processes, but it does reduce the chances that the child will become an obese adult. Only a doctor can decide if weight loss surgery is the right choice for a child.

#2 – The most obese country in all of the world is NOT the United States of America.  You’ve probably heard this exaggeration for years but it simply is not true. While the U.S. does struggle with weight issues with more than 30 percent of Americans carrying around a BMI of 30 or better, the most obese country is actually an island in the South Pacific called Nauru. On this small island, more than 94 percent of the population is obese. Other obese countries include the United Kingdom and Mexico.

#3 – Japan and South Korea are the two countries with the least number of obese people.  This is due to cultural differences and differences in what is considered attractive by a society as a whole. While the U.S. holds at number three in the list of obese countries, the average weight across America for men and women combined is about 180 pounds or 81.928 kilograms. This is approximately 20 kilograms higher than the average weight in 1970, nearly five decades ago.

#4 – In the U.S. and Canada, twenty-five weight loss surgeries are performed every hour, on average!  This number is a bit larger than Europe, which averages 7.6 per hour, and Asia with only 1.5 per hour. Of these Bariatric surgeries reported in the study, nearly 90 percent were performed using a minimally invasive surgery technique called laparoscopy. This popular method is used for two types of weight loss surgeries: Gastric Banding and Gastric Bypass. The least common Bariatric surgery was the Biliopancreatic Diversion with duodenal switch, according to these numbers.

#5 – The very first recorded weight loss surgery was performed in ancient Greece.  The patient was a man named Dionysius, who was believed to have lived a very extravagant life. These early records suggest he was quite a tyrant …and quite obese due to his lifestyle. You would not want to trade places with Dionysius though, because today’s easy in-and-out laparoscopic method is amazingly painless when compared to the method he endured, which called for the insertion of long needles through the belly and hips. Bariatric surgery became a valid choice for Americans starting in 1954, changing the way people viewed obesity treatments.

These are just five of the many interesting facts about Bariatric surgery, which is just the beginning of all the cool and interesting details that surround obesity and weight loss surgery. Put those fabrications and false facts about Bariatric surgery to rest when you learn the real facts.

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13 year old Texan, Alexis Shapiro, was a normal little girl prior to age 9, when a non-cancerous brain tumor had to be removed near her hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Although it was well-known that weight gain would be a likely side effect of the surgery, it seemed that Alexis just got the worst of it.

child obesity

Where Her Story Started

On average, the little girl was gaining about 2 pounds a week. Over the next 2 years, Alexis went from 52 pounds to approximately 203 pounds. In addition to the fact that her 4 foot 7 frame was not built to carry so much weight, she was continually hungry, which only made things worse.

That was when the Shapiro family was introduced to Dr. Thomas Inge, from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who was willing to provide Alexis with a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve. However, the Shapiro’s insurance was not willing to cover the cost of the procedure due to the fact that Alexis was only 12.

In order to cover the cost of the surgery, the family began a crowdfunding campaign. Thanks to the news and media attention, they raised approximately $70,000. In addition to this, the family’s insurance company also decided to reverse their decision on the Shapiro case. So, the funds raised have been put towards paying the family’s travel expenses between their home in Texas and the Cincinnati hospital.

While it was initially hoped that Alexis would receive a gastric bypass, it was ruled unsafe due to the fact that her liver was so enlarged. In March of 2014, Alexis Shapiro received a sleeve gastrectomy. Her stomach is now one quarter of its original size.

Where Her Journey Begins

Since having the weight loss surgery, Alexis must now eat 60 grams of protein per day, in addition to only eating small amounts of food in any one sitting. While it is a major adjustment, Alexis is already used to it by now.

Since having the surgery, Alexis has had a huge improvement in her energy levels and has lost about 60 ponds (however, she has gained about 10 back). With more than 13,000 likes on their Facebook page, Jenny Shapiro states that her daughter has felt supported by sharing her journey with the public.

Where Is She Now?

Today, Alexis Shapiro has been participating in her first ever 3K and 5K races. Although Alexis walks in the races, the fact that she can now cover 3.1 miles on foot shows her improvement.

Even though no one in her family had ever taken part in a road race before, whenever Alexis expressed interest in running one, they immediately found the Carnival of Venice 5K in San Antonio, Texas. On top of that, they also joined her in participating in the race.

Jenny Shapiro told Runner’s World Newswire, ““She was proud of herself, I was proud of her. We were just all surprised and amazed.” According to her mother, Alexis is definitely planning on continuing to participate in the road races.

 

There are many sources of support and inspiration for those who plan to embark on their weight loss journey such as Bariatric groups, clubs and social media platforms, to name a few. There is another excellent source for support and inspiration online: YouTube. Would you have ever guessed?

YouTube Channels that Inspire and Educate

If you have been contemplating your options for weight loss and considering Bariatric surgery, you have probably scoured the internet for information. You might have searched Facebook and Twitter for groups or forums that provide the inspiring weight loss stories of real people. One of the best sources for detailed information is YouTube.

Speaking from experience, there are many Bariatric patients who have and are currently keeping video journals on YouTube , sharing their week by week or month by month progress. These people are quite candid, sharing weight gains and losses and talking about the highs and lows that follow weight loss surgery. You will easily become addicted to these channels and find a connection with these ladies.

Here are some personal favorites that are sure to inspire you and help you make important decisions regarding your own Bariatric journey. If you don’t have a personal YouTube account, you will want to sign up for a channel and follow these weight loss role models.

Follow the Weight Loss Surgery Leaders on YouTube

Shelley and the Band


Shelley underwent Bariatric surgery, opting for the Lap Band approach to weight loss. She started her Pre-Op diet on December 13th of 2012 and had weight loss surgery on December 27th of 2012. Her starting weight was 283.3 pounds and you can follow her as she sheds the pounds, laughs and cries, purchases new clothes and learns to add exercise to her daily regime. She shares tips and tips to help make the weight loss journey a little easier and talks about the Bariatric diet, including which foods she eats and avoids. Shelley is an inspiration to anyone who desires to lose weight and take charge of their life.

Billie’s Journey

Billie and her physician chose the Gastric Sleeve when she began her weight loss journey.  She covers everything from symptoms and pain to regrets and goals, making her story an excellent one to follow if you are thinking about or have had weight loss surgery. Billie had numerous obstacles including hypertension and PCOS which was primarily caused by her obesity, requiring her to take medication on a daily basis. She remained on her medications for one month after surgery and has not taken any since, enjoying a normal range blood pressure. Her YouTube story begins at approximately 446 pounds and her first video is recorded and shared three days post-op, on November 11th of 2013.

Heather K

Heather and her Bariatric doctor chose the Lap Band with Plication when it was time for her weight loss journey to begin in early December of 2012. Her very first video is posted just one and one half weeks before her surgery date, giving followers an opportunity to learn about pre-op procedures as well as the pre-op diet, when Bariatric patients usually lose a significant amount of weight.  35 year old Heather talks about her family’s views on Bariatric surgery and the reasons she opted for weight loss surgery. She was 260 pounds prior to considering weight loss surgery and was approximately 230 pounds when she began her Bariatric journey.

LapBandJussy

Located in the UK, Jussy talks about her starting weight of 232 pounds and her goal weight of 130 pounds, which she hopes to reach with the Lap Band surgery.  Like other Bariatric patients, Jussy speaks about her hopes and fears in relation to the Bariatric procedure. As of the date of this publication, she has uploaded one hundred weeks of weight loss updates to share with others who are considering this same journey, sharing her current weight of 182 pounds and counting.

Finding Your Muse on YouTube

Depending on which weight loss surgery you and your doctor decide upon, you will easily find support on this popular platform. The voices of those who have undergone these surgeries will prepare you for the days, months and years ahead like no other research will do. Remember that, while these women speak from experience, everyone who undergoes weight loss surgery will see different symptoms and results. If you have any concerns, you should make a note and discuss them with your Bariatric doctor.

Don’t Forget to Follow National Bariatric Link on Youtube!


Whether you are trying to lose weight before or after your weight loss surgery, you have probably been researching the facts and looking for new and innovative ways to improve your health and look great. There are many websites across the internet touting new breakthroughs and innovative research for those seeking weight loss but how do you know which are reporting facts and which are posting only myths.

It can be hard to tell whether the newest weight loss facts are fact or fiction. How do you recognize the truth when there are so many myths being published and shared? Of course, research is the only way to know and understand weight loss. Here are some of the most common weight loss myths that people believe as truth today.

weight loss

Myth #1 – You Have To Start Exercising Like Crazy to Lose Weight.

When people start focusing on losing weight, they often start exercising like crazy in order to shed those extra pounds. Sadly, the reason most people fail to maintain the weight loss they worked so hard for is due to binge exercise sessions that are discarded once they reach their ideal weight.

Ideally, it is best to aim for making small, healthy lifestyle choices that are achievable and sticking to those goals. One fact about weight loss is constant. Calorie counting is key to losing weight and shedding pounds. Exercising helps build stamina and speed your metabolism but nothing keeps the weight off like lifestyle changes and new eating habits.

Myth #2 – Healthy Foods Are More Expensive than Other Choices.

It is true that most of the time, consumers pay a higher price for items that have been branded as healthy or all-natural. It can be aggravating to shop for groceries, only  to find that items containing less actually cost more. With some dedication and attention to detail, you can make smart diet choices on a limited grocery budget.

Aside from investing in budget-smart choices such as beans, rice and base foods, you could also look at your local community for fresh organic offerings. Farmers markets can be found all across America, supporting local farmers while offering better choices for those seeking weight loss.

Myth #3 – Starving Yourself is an Acceptable Form of Dieting.

When it comes to losing weight, many people tend to starve themselves rather than actually change their dietary habits. Binge fasting usually leads to a cycle of starving your body and then regaining the weight, sometimes with extra pounds added on. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things to do as during fasting, your body will actually ‘hang on’ to unneeded nutrients and calories for fear of starving.

By implementing smaller, healthy lifestyle changes, you will find that the weight starts to come off, leading to a smaller body and healthier you. Unlike starvation which teaches your body nothing, changing your diet will help you take off the pounds and control your weight for life.

Myth #4 – You Have To Stop Snacking to Lose Weight.

Many people believe that if they truly want to lose weight, they must completely stop snacking. The problem is not actually the snacking, but rather whats is chosen to snack on and the time of day in which the craving is satisfied. Snacking between meals can be an excellent way to speed up your body’s metabolism when done properly. After weight loss surgery, your Bariatric doctor or nutritionist may advise you to eat five or six small meals daily rather than three larger ones.

When you snack, fight the urge to eat potato chips, sugary sweet cookies and cakes or soda pop, reaching instead for fresh carrots, nonfat yogurt and nuts or healthy low salt trail mixes. Replacing your snacks with fruits and veggies will boost your body’s metabolism, promote better digestion and help burn excess fat quickly. The time of day in which you eat is also important, as it is important to avoid eating after seven p.m. when the body’s digestion process occurs at a much slower rate.

Myth #5 – Water Makes You Lose Weight.

While this is true in a round about way, the truth is simple. Water alone does not actually make you lose weight. Water keep your body hydrated (which is an essential part of weight loss) and prevents you from feeling the urge to snack, and is also required for a healthy digestive tract. Whenever your body is dehydrated, you can often mistake that feeling for hunger which leads to unhealthy snacking and consequential weight gain.

Every day, you hear new stories, fact and fiction, regarding all of the latest weight loss claims, methods and breakthroughs guaranteeing to deliver a “new you”. Anytime you hear these stories, it is always best to double check your facts and see what the experts are saying. If you undergo or have already had weight loss surgery, it is best to discuss any questions or concerns with your Bariatric doctor so you can realize your goal weight quickly and effectively.

 

 

In case your health insurance claim got denied for Bariatric Surgery, you may want to appeal against the decision. But how do you do that?

These six steps will hopefully help you:

bariatric denial appeal

  1. Get a written denial letter from your insurer

First, obtain a denial letter that contains all the basic information. Apart from mentioning the name, the credentials, and the title of the person who denied your claim, a denial letter needs to include the clinical rationale and the medical criteria supporting the denial. A denial letter must also contain instructions to appeal to the decision. In addition to that, contact information, instructions for correctly filing external review and for obtaining further assistance need to be given.

In case the denial latter given to you lacks any of the above mentioned elements, contact your insurer and get the additional information.

 

  1. Understand the guidelines

Before going ahead with your appeal, you must take the time to understand the appeal guidelines of your provider. Different insurance companies have different guidelines, and to maximize your chance at winning, following guidelines is important.

 

  1. Get support from those who are willing to help

Most reputed medical centers have insurance coordinators who know a lot about the appeal process. Contact your Bariatric medical center to find out if someone can help you. In case a bariatric coordinator cannot find success, you may even request your bariatric surgeon to call someone in the insurance company who has high authority. In addition to that, your company’s HR center may be of great help, too!

 

  1. Prepare an effective appeal letter

Never write a weak unprofessional letter. Put effort to prepare an appeal letter that looks highly professional and standard.

 

  1. Keep track of your correspondences

In addition to noting the times and the dates of each of the correspondences, you should note the medium of correspondences, too. That is, whether a discussion took place over phone, email, fax or something else. You must also keep track of all the titles and names of the different representatives you speak with. Other than that, save a summary of whatever is talked about during any correspondence. Further, make sure that you send your letters using certified mail carriers only. That way, you can have proof regarding when you sent those letters.

 

  1. Make sure that you follow up

All your efforts will be wasted if you fail to persist. Make sure that you do not stop your journey until you get a final official response from your insurance provider.

 

If your insurance provider does not budge even after you follow the above steps, you may want to go a step further and involve lawyers and other influential third parties.

In case your health insurance claim just got denied, you are probably wondering what step to take next.

One thing you can do is make an appeal. But for that, you need to know the procedure first. So how do you make an appeal exactly?

6 elements bariatric insurance appeal letter

First of all, even before you touch your pen or keyboard, it is important to contact your doctor’s office and ask for all the important information that you may need to include in your letter. You can also get helpful suggestions from knowledgeable staff there. In addition to that, the office may have a great letter template to help you complete the appeal process easily and quickly.

Secondly, you need to obtain some basic information from your insurer in a standard denial letter.

Once both of the above steps are completed, it is time to write the actual letter.

In order to be effective, your Bariatric Surgery appeal letter should contain the following six elements at the very least:

 

  1. Basic policy information

It goes without saying that your letter must contain your name in full at the beginning. The letter must also contain policy information and treatment information. You can find such information easily if you examine your insurance company’s Explanation of Benefits document. Writing your policy number, treatment dates, description of treatments, and total doctor fees should be enough.

 

  1. The reason for denial

Why was your claim denied in the first place? State that reason in your letter. Make it easy for your insurance provider to track your case. Do not assume that your insurance company will just know the reason.

 

  1. Your intention

Make it clear that the reason for writing your letter is that you intend to make an appeal.

 

  1. Important document copies

Send all the records that your insurer used at the time of denying your claim. Also, include records that may be required to approve your claim if the company chooses to do so. In addition to that, do not forget to enclose copies of medical opinions provided by your insurer regarding the denial.

 

  1. Claim re-review request

Request your insurer to review your claim once again in accordance with any newly provided data. This one applies only if you provide additional documents or information responding to the denial.

 

  1. Your contact information

Never end a letter abruptly without giving your contact details. Where would you like to be contacted for further correspondence by your insurance company? Write down that address correctly at the end of the letter.

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If all else fails, you can still get medical financing. Read more about bariatric financing here.

Bariatric surgery is an expensive procedure. So in case you do not have a medical medical financing gastric bypass gastric sleeve lap bandinsurance, or your insurer refuses to cover your surgery costs, you may feel discouraged. You may even think about retreating or postponing your surgery.

However, there is no reason to panic. Because, even without the support of your insurance provider, it is totally possible to get your surgery done without breaking your financial backbone!

Chat with our Bariatric Coordinator Online to find financing options!

Why take the leap?

We will talk about where to find financial help in a moment, but first let us see why undergoing bariatric surgery is a good idea even when money is tight:

Bariatric surgery assures cheaper future

Nearly all patients who undergo bariatric surgery report decline in their expenses after about 13 months of surgery. In fact, data suggests that obese people spend nearly 900 dollars more every month compared to those who had the surgery done.

Bariatric surgery lengthens life

Since a huge number of health problems disappear after bariatric surgery is done, quality of life improves by a large margin. And hence, a longer life is almost guaranteed!

Bariatric surgery improves professional life

Obese people are often discriminated against by peers and colleagues at work. It may sound harsh, but many obese people get lesser salaries than they deserve just because they are obese. So once bariatric surgery is out of the way, others are likely to treat a person in a nicer and more respectful way.

 

What kinds of financial help exist for bariatric surgery?

Now that you know why bariatric surgery is worth embracing, let us consider the ways in which you can finance the procedure:

Secured medical loans

Obtaining a secured loan from any reputed credit union or bank is a good idea in case you own a house that has about 10 to 20 percent of built up equity. However, keep in mind that this option requires collateral on your part. Also, since the process of obtaining a secured loan is a bit complex, most people prefer to obtain unsecured loan as long as the loan amount does not exceed $15,000.

Unsecured medical loans

If you have no intention of providing collateral, then getting an unsecured loan is your best bet. The problem in this case is that since there is no collateral involved, the interest rate is going to be higher than that of secured loans. Other than that, having a good credit score is crucial if your aim is to successfully receive an unsecured loan. For more details, you can contact brokers, lenders and credit card companies who provide unsecured loans in your area.

In those states of the US where bariatric procedure is regarded as an Essential Health Benefit, Obamacare makes it mandatory for insurance providers to ensure that bariatric surgery coverage is given under all small-group, family and individual plans under the Affordable Care Act.

In this article, we list the states that are covered, illustrate the limitations of the act, and tell you what to do if your state is not included.

obama care bariatric surgery

States covered for bariatric surgery under Obamacare

Excluding a select few, nearly all states make it mandatory for all small-group, individual and family plans to provide bariatric benefits. Residents from Arizona, Delaware, California, Hawaii and Illinois can obtain bariatric surgery benefits. Those who live in Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland or Massachusetts are also eligible. In addition to that, people from Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New Mexico can benefit from the act, too.

Other states that make bariatric surgery insurance benefits mandatory are North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming.

 

If your state is excluded

In the event that the above paragraph did not mention your state, it is likely that your insurer is not obligated to give you any bariatric surgery benefit. Even when you get your surgery done in some other state, you will still not be able to claim any benefits. The good news is that many organizations and authorities are working hard to change certain policies of the Affordable Care Act in order to make bariatric surgery mandatory within more states.

 

Is there any other catch?

Since the act treats bariatric surgery as an Essential Health Benefit, the initiative is of no use in case of larger groups. That is, if a group has more than 50 employees, then Essential Benefits are not going to apply. That means if you work in a company having over 50 employees, you will not be eligible for receiving bariatric insurance coverage.

 

What if you are unsure?

In case you are unsure whether your insurance provider gives you bariatric surgery benefits or not, you may want to contact a local bariatric surgeon. Without charging you anything, the surgeon’s office will get in touch with your insurer and obtain information on your behalf. After that, it is great if you find that the procedure is covered by your insurance provider! But at the same time, there is no reason to lose heart even if your insurance company informs that it does not cover the procedure. That is because you can still get secured and unsecured loans from various sources to cover the costs.

In the light of recent studies, it appears that obesity is not really curable by eating less. The researchers behind The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology argue that, for the most part, obesity proves itself as a disease that is chronic, having biological reasons which cannot be eliminated by exercise or diet.

Almost 80 to 95 percent of obese people who experience short-term good results after controlling diet end up being obese again when few months pass. One reason for that may be our body’s tendency to prompt us to consume foods rich in calories when we suddenly decrease our caloric intake.

The problem is, in case of obese people, the mentioned biological tendency actually encourages fat storage in order to protect a person’s maximum sustained weight. As a result, overriding this kind of defense does not seem to be possible for the majority of patients, if only lifestyle alterations are embraced.

Reason for Obesity

Dr. Christopher Ochner, the lead author, expresses that obesity can often turn into something that is biologically defended, and hence, advising an obese person to eat less is somewhat like suggesting a bleeding person to avoid sharp risky objects. Note that Dr. Christopher is Pediatrics and Psychiatry Assistant Professor who works in the Icahn School of Medicine, New York.

The professor further states that most obese people are truly and significantly different biologically from their counterparts who have normal weight. In many cases, he argues, their biological changes may last indefinitely, which makes it nearly impossible for them to sustain long-term weight loss.

According to the authors, in order to sustain weight loss permanently, interfering with biological factors is necessary. The present biological interventions are not very capable, since those are limited to ways like surgeries, drugs, nerve blockage etc. that do not exactly provide permanent correction.

To date, only Roux-en-Y gastric bypass could show reversal of obesity-induced alternations upon hormones associated with appetite, and on how our brain responds to food. The authors argue that this may be one reason why the method of bariatric surgery seems to be the only viable treatment for eliminating obesity completely.

Dr. Christopher concludes that a huge number of clinicians do not really understand the reasons why obese people find it difficult to lose weight. According to him, obesity needs to be recognized for what it is – a chronic, and sometimes treatment-resistant, condition. He notes that without biological interventions, obesity may not be possible to eliminate by lifestyle modifications alone; and relying only on modifying behavior will only result in yearly deaths of millions of sufferers.

What do you think?  Share your opinion on this study.

A recent study that appeared in the Obesity journal pointed out that food addiction can be significantly lowered with the help of bariatric surgery. The results of the research showed that the surgery, which is primarily used to reduce weight, probably has the ability to decrease a large number of eating disorders associated with extreme obesity, as well.

Note that even though bariatric surgery has been widely accepted as one of the highly effective weight loss therapies for treating obesity, it is yet undetermined to what extent the surgery can influence food addiction.

So, a study undertaken by some researchers of the Atkins Center of Excellence and the Center of Human Nutrition of St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine attempted to tackle exactly that. They wanted to see if weight-loss-induced gastric banding, gastric bypass, or gastrectomy played role in food addiction remission. Another aim of the study was to understand eating behavior normalization patterns.

obesity bariatric surgery

For conducting the study, 44 patients were picked, each suffering from obesity. Among them, 39 were women. The patients exhibited mean BMI of 48 ± 8. The researchers examined the patients before the surgery and after it. Among the subjects, 25 experienced gastric bypass, 8 exhibited sleeve gastrectomy, and 11 showed gastric banding.

Besides that, 14 or 32 percent of the 44 subjects showed food addiction before the surgery took place. Factors like race, age, education level, or income level did not affect that.

Reports showed that food addiction decreased surprisingly in 13 of the total 14 subjects, or in nearly 93 percent of cases, after the surgery was done. Once the surgery being over, new cases ceased to crop up. Food addiction prevalence reached 2 percent from 32 percent (p< 0.00001). In addition to that, all subjects started to experience lesser extent of median symptoms (p< 0.0001).

Both the groups showed reduction in food craving after the surgery, but the effect was more pronounce among the patients who had serious food addiction. When the surgery was over, even patients who craved food very frequently stopped craving food much. Another thing noticed was that the craving for starch did not decline a lot among the noted food addicted subjects (p=0.009) after the surgery, even though that did not apply in case of other foods.

The authors of the study concluded that, based on the data, it was evident that obesity does not really result in food addiction. However, food addiction certainly seems to be one of the contributing risk factors. They also concluded that food addiction may very well be modifiable. Other than that, the authors agreed that in order to understand what mechanisms were responsible for reducing food addiction, and to rightly determine if food addiction presence influences the efficacy of weight loss when it comes to bariatric surgery, further studies are required.