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Posted (edited)

Hello, everyone!

So, after having little to no restriction for quite some time, I finally found a doctor here in South Carolina who was willing to do fills without charging a huge amount of money and making me jump through hoops like Roper St. Francis hospital systems did. After multiple appointments with this new doctor it became clear that I have some sort of leak or disconnection somewhere in my band. The very first appointment he pulled almost no Fluid out, then even after adding fluid in the band for two more appointments in a row after that, the same amount of fluid was not pulling back out and I really didn't feel anything restriction-wise. On our 3rd appointment, after once again only being able to pull a tiny amount of fluid out, the saline had a yellow tint which my doc stated indicated that blood was present and getting into the band. This solidified his suspicions that I had a leak. He felt that was the issue at the previous appointments, but he said seeing that tint was a dead giveaway.
This doctor and his staff were so helpful and wonderful, but I feel their total pricing for having a revision is a little steep. Perhaps I am simply ignorant, and I expected it to be expensive, but wow. It's not the pricing of the VSG itself that I'm surprised by, it's the price they're adding on top of that for just taking out the band. They want about $25,000 total to revise me from band to sleeve and it also seems like they want me to do two surgeries rather than one. financing is available, but I worry about taking out that amount. To break it down, they are charging $15,500 for the VSG (which is fine) but then another $9,000 on top of that just for the removal of the band itself.

Just to clarify, the only doctors who ever touched my port and/or band was my doctor in Florida who placed my band back in 2013 and then this new doctor in SC who only did those fills I was speaking of prior. I know that the doctor here in SC who did the fills did not cause the leak with a puncture or anything since there was little to nothing in the band in the first place at the first appointment. I also hadn't seen my original doctor in a few years, and in between him and this doctor here in SC, no one else has messed with my band/port. The last time I saw/had an adjustment with my original doctor, I was good to go and had the right amount of fluid and restriction. It's been the last couple years that my weight has started to creep back up and I began losing restriction. I have no clue why the band began to leak or what caused it. As stated before, no other doctor messed with it, and I've not had any sort of accident that could have caused damage to the line, port, etc. I even had an Upper GI in 2020 when I was trying to go through Roper St. Francis hospital's bariatric department for fills and they told me the band was in it's proper place and there was no indication of a slip. They just said the liquid they had me drink during the imaging was going through fine and there seemed to be no restriction present.

The point of my rambling is this...since the issue with my band is not anyone's fault and seems to be some sort of malfunction with the band itself, does anyone know ANY loopholes, per say, in order to avoid paying an arm and a leg for the charge of the removal of the band. Again, I'm not haggling over the price of the VSG, I'm attempting to haggle the price of the removal of the band itself. I know business is business, time is money, revisions take more time and resources, and our medical system here in the US is crazy expensive. But, I personally feel like I should not be financially penalized by way of extra cost for the removal of the band itself. The VSG part of the surgery itself I'm happy to pay for and am not trying to negotiate the price of, it's just disheartening that the band is essentially broken and my options feel like, 1) either keep a useless foreign object inside my body that serves no purpose, or 2) pay an exorbitant amount for it to be revised even though its failure is not my doing. To add to my annoyance over the situation, the band has been intermittently causing me discomfort; particularly at the port area. My surgical doc placed the port in the center of my abdomen right above my navel and as of lately, it'll feel sore and has even felt slightly swollen a couple of times. It almost feels as if the port moved or was pulled from the inside. The discomfort is similar to the discomfort you feel when a surgical incision or a cut is still tender...that's the best way I can describe the pain/discomfort.

**In addition. I do have insurance, but it covers nothing bariatric.

Any constructive advice is welcomed and I appreciate anyone who took the time to read this long-winded post! :)

Edited by Hello_Pumpkin
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Posted (edited)

Is there a reason they want to do 2 surgeries? can they do both surgeries at once? That would greatly reduce the price....

Edited by ms.sss

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I don't think so. That's the weird part, the doctor himself didn't seem to indicate that he wanted to do two surgeries. But the office staff who I spoke to when asking about my next steps toward surgery were the ones who were indicating that they'd schedule 2 different surgeries.

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If you are comfortable with it, I would suggest speaking with the surgeon again. Get the REAL down low about the reasons why it has to be done in 2 surgeries (if at all). The surgeon's decision overrides them all.

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