Weight loss surgery

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find answers to many of your questions about weight loss (bariatric) surgery. Learn how it works, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how the surgery’s done, view our animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for weight loss surgery and learn how your choice of surgeon and hospital affect that cost.
Lap band surgery Other weight loss surgery

The basics

What's weight loss surgery?

There are several procedures designed to help you achieve your weight loss goal. They work by reducing the amount of food your stomach can hold (restrictive surgeries) and/or by reducing the amount of food your body can absorb (malabsorptive surgeries). These procedures can produce dramatic weight loss.

They include:

Lap band surgery (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding) — where an adjustable silicone band is placed around the top part of your stomach. This creates a small stomach pouch above the band which makes you feel satisfied after eating a small amount of food.

Gastric sleeve surgery — where most of your stomach is removed. You feel full with a small amount of food. Also, because the hunger hormone that is produced by your stomach is removed along with part of your stomach, the feeling of hunger is reduced.

Gastric bypass surgery— where a small part of your stomach is connected directly to your small intestine so that food bypasses most of your stomach. You feel full sooner, your body absorbs less of what you eat and the feeling of hunger is reduced. (Both bypass and sleeve surgery reduce hunger.) 

Why's it done?

Your doctor may recommend weight loss surgery if you’re overweight to the point where your health is at serious risk.

Learn about weight loss surgery

This short animation shows how weight loss surgery works.

The details


Alternatives to weight loss surgery

There are a number of other options.

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Types of weight loss surgery

There are several different types of surgery for weight loss.

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Results vs risks of the procedure

The benefits and and potential complications of weight loss surgery.

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Choosing a specialist

How to find a surgeon who specialises in these procedures.

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Questions for your specialist

What you should ask before going ahead with weight loss surgery.

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Preparing for your procedure

Pre-operative tests, assessments and diet.

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Your anaesthetic options

The type of anaesthetic and post-op pain relief you may be offered.

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Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of your surgery.

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Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre.

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After surgery

Your hospital stay.

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Resuming activities and watching for problems.

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Life after surgery

Changes to your diet and lifestyle.

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Patient experiences

People who’ve had the procedure talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.


View videos

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.