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I along with a friend are scheduled for surgery on July 6th in St Louis. We are confident in our doctor's skills but are finding that he and the hospital aren't very organized. There has been much confusion about the total cost of surgery. For example, we will be billed by Radiology and Anesthesiology for their services in addition to the hospital fees. (we are self-pay) No one could tell me how much these fees will be so I had to personally call these people to ask what their fee was. We were also unaware that our first few fills would be done at the hospital which is $600-$800 a pop.

There is another doctor in St Louis that specializes in Lap Band and I contacted his office today. His staff is impresive, organized and very up front about money. And he happens to be less expensive. Fills are $50 in office and $133 at the hospital. I have scheduled us appointments with this new doctor next week.

I guess I feel disloyal to our existing surgeon but am beyond frustrated with the run around that we have recieved. I'm emotionally prepared for a July 6th surgery date and if we switch surgeons that date will change a week or two. Has anyone out there been through something similar and has anyone had Dr Van Wagner as their surgeon in St Louis? Any advise would be appreciated.

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I have not had this happen, but if you are having 2nd thoughts now CHANGE!!! think of it as a future stress reliever.. Because you are self pay you should have the EXACT! price up front... ANd your office SHOULD know that no question.... I would be a little leary with this office.. How bad would it be to be two or three days out from surgery and find out you need and xtra grand or more... I think you should stick with your gut instinct and CHANGE drs. and save your self some money and frustration.... good luck

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I agree with Jen. If you're a self-pay patient, you should know exactly what your costs will be. Not only that, but you should have full confidence in your surgeon and the hospital.

If you're having concerns, I would make the change now. But, please...I cannot stress enough the importance of researching this new doctor.

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I am self pay and my surgeons office gave me an itemized list of what was covered and what it costs. Very up front, so no one had to do any second guessing. I say check out some other surgeons, it may be a delay of a few weeks, but how does that compare to the rest of your life?

Terry:)

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I work in a hospital that has a weight loss surgery program and let me tell you that if they are disorganized and can't give you a package quote it usually means that there is contention between that hospital and the surgeon regarding pricing and who does what. RUN AWAY! He may be a good surgeon, but the stress you will have is not worth it. Espeically when unexpected bills start flying in. They should be able to give you a package price with no surprises unless you have unusual complications. That's standard.

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Thanks for all of your help. My friend, who I am being banded with, comes home from vacation tonight. I'll present her with all that's been going on and we'll try and make an informed decision. I just want this new part of our lives to start as soon as possible.

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I agree with the other posters. If you keep getting different or add-on expenses, it probably means that the hospital, the surgeon, or BOTH haven't done enough of this type of surgery to be trustworthy.

I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with TriciaK about doing further research on any possible replacement surgeons. Just because you're 'geared-up' for surgery in a particulary time-frame, doesn't mean that that time-frame is the right or only time-frame for you. Now is not the time to let the decision making process slip through your fingers and throw caution to the wind.

Take a step back, re-evaluate, and try again. The band will be there for you when you're completely ready.

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If you are having second thoughts...CHANGE!!! Gut instincts are often the best. My doc had a seminar and the price was quoted up front which included pretesting, surgery and a year of after care for fills...$17,000. $500 down and the balance a few days before surgery. I was mistakenly billed by the radiologist and all I had to do was send the bill to the surgeon and he took care of it.

You should know up front.

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