Phone

07 5564 6501

Patient Information

Surgeon Consultations

Please contact the clinic for full details on cost.

Note:  you may be able to have costs covered by withdrawing money from your superannuation fund.

Surgeon Consultation FeesFull feeMedicare Rebate*Net fee
Initial Consultation$220.00$80.85$139.15
Pensioner/Concession Card Holders$190.00$80.85$109.15
Post-op appointments Bulk Billed  
Follow-up consultations#Bulk Billed  
    

*You will receive a rebate from Medicare if ONLY you have a valid GP or Specialist referral letter.

# Follow-up appointments following your operation are bulk billed on the proviso that we have a valid GP referral letter on file, or a new one is supplied to us prior to your follow up consult.

Dietitian Consultations

All patients are required to have a dietitian consultation prior to bariatric surgery to discuss the pre-surgery Formulite program and diet post-surgery. In addition, two follow up consultations are scheduled for 4 and 12 weeks post-op for diet texture modification and nutritional monitoring. Please note the fee schedule below.

Dietitian Consultation Fees 
Initial Consultation$165.00
4-week post-op consult$95.00
12-week post-op consult$95.00
Total Fee Upfront$355.00*

*Total Fee is payable at your initial consultation with the dietitian.

There is no Medicare rebate associated with a dietitian consult.
If you have private health insurance with extras, you may be able to claim some of this back.

Other costs

Prior to weight loss surgery you will be required to commence a low-calorie meal replacement diet of Formulite for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the operation. You will need to pay for these meal replacements. We stock these products, and a two-week course will cost about $150.

If we arrange for you to see any other specialists prior to your surgery, such as endocrinologists, cardiologists, or respiratory physicians they may charge you for these visits.

There may be additional costs such as blood tests or x-rays required before or during your stay, depending on your health fund.

Surgery payment

Payment of Dr Free surgery quote is due a minimum of 1 week prior to your scheduled surgery date. But please contact the clinic for further details regarding pricing and options. 

Payment options include:

  • Visa/Mastercard/Amex over the phone or in person
  • EFTPOS in person
  • Direct Deposit

We do not offer payment plans, however some patients opt to pay their surgery by regular instalments leading up to their surgery - please contact us if this is your preferred option (note that surgery must still be paid in full at least 1 week prior to the scheduled surgery.)

Accessing Superannuation (for weight loss surgery)

It is possible to access your superannuation to help pay for your weight loss surgery - for all or part of your expected surgery costs.

You will need to have a consultation with Dr Jason Free prior to commencing paperwork for accessing your superannuation, as Dr Free must approve of your surgery and your application. Please advise us when booking your initial consultation if you intend on applying to your superannuation to pay for your surgery.

Once completed and approved, we will discuss the necessary steps required to apply for your superannuation. This requires applying to the Australian Taxation Office through your myGov account. You can find details of this on the ATO website.

 

After your operation

Immediately after your operation you will wake up in the recovery room. Depending on if you have any pre-existing heart or lung problems we might keep you in the intensive care unit for the first night following surgery. Your anaesthetist will provide you with adequate analgesia to make you feel comfortable.

The nursing staff will regularly check your blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate. You will also have your blood sugar levels checked regularly. Dr Free see's all of his patients following surgery at least once per day, usually more often. If you or the nursing staff at any time have any particular concerns in the ward, Dr Free or an appropriately trained associate will be able to see you at short notice.

It is important to follow a strict dietary regime following your surgery. To read about your dietary regime following surgery please read tour guide:

Click here to download the post operation dietary information.

Most medications can be continued immediately after the operation however we will go through your medication list and make sure they are suitable. You may notice that after a gastric bypass operation within hours or days you may need to dramatically reduce your diabetic medications, and often eliminate them completely within days. After most weight loss operations you will usually be able to reduce or eliminate the amount of antihypertensive medications you may be taking, this effect usually takes weeks. We will liaise with your GP or specialist dealing with these medications following the surgery.

We encourage you to walk and exercise as soon as possible after the operation. Our exercise physiologist will discuss what you are able to do to keep you fit & healthy.

We usually expect that you will stay in hospital for about 2 nights following a sleeve gastrectomy, and 1-2 nights following a gastric bypass operation. We ask that you stay in the Gold Coast area for at least 1 week following your surgery if you have travelled from a regional area.

At discharge from hospital we will contact your GP and relevant specialists caring for you.

We will also contact you within a week following your surgery to check on your progress.

An appointment will be made for you to see us in our clinic at about 2-3 weeks following the surgery. If you live away from the Gold Coast we can arrange a telehealth consultation if you are feeling well enough to stay at home. At this stage we also like you to see our in house dietitian.

 

 

Weight Loss Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is there a gap for surgery costs?

Unfortunately the full costs involved in providing quality medical care are not adequately covered by medicare and private health insurers. Most common surgical procedures performed by experienced surgeons in the private health system involve a gap payment. Weight-loss surgery has even more costs, as multiple professionals are involved in your care, and care by your surgeon needs to be lifelong.

Therefore,  Dr Free does charge the AMA rate and there is a shortfall applicable to privately insured and uninsured patients. Health fund and medicare rebate entitlements can be obtained immediately after your surgery and receipt of payment.

The following graph shows how medical expenses compared to medicare rebates offered by the government.

Why has my dieting not helped me lose weight?

The human body has evolved over thousands of years to survive long periods of starvation. Scientific evidence increasingly points to the problem that confronts dieters: cutting out calories changes your metabolism and brain, so your body hoards fat and your mind magnifies food cravings into an obsession. The human frame contains about ten times more fat-storing cells relative to body weight than most animals, even hibernating polar bears which have to endure long periods when food is unavailable. Our calorie-hoarding bodies have evolved strong mechanisms to stop weight loss, but weak systems for preventing weight gain. If you manage to lose 10% of your weight, your body thinks there’s an emergency, so it burns less fuel by slowing your metabolism.

Weight loss surgery cannot fully oppose these carbohydrate scavenging effects of the body. However it is able to partially change the hormones that affect hunger, and can decrease the total amount of food able to be taken in.

Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?

If your BMI is over 40, or you have a BMI over 35 with associated obesity related disorders (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, arthritis) the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council recommends you have weight loss surgery. Some people who have had certain procedures on their gastrointestinal system may be unable to have certain types of weight loss operations. And some medical disorders make the procedures extremely dangerous. We will discuss these issues when you see us.

How will weight loss surgery help me?

There are multiple medical reasons why surgical weight loss shows dramatic improvements in your health. Most people we see however just want to lose weight to make themselves feel better about life, and to look better.

A recent article in "Forbes" magazine reports that being overweight may create a bias when looking for a job, affecting your ability to be hired as well as possibly your starting wage.

As well as making you feel better about life, bariatric surgery is associated with significant short and long term improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Which weight loss surgery is best for me?

This is a question which needs a proper discussion in our clinic. We offer a full range of weight loss procedures. Most people when we see them come in requesting a certain type of weight loss procedure. You must understand that of the 3 most commonly performed procedures, each will be more suited to certain people for various reasons, such as your actual BMI, specific medical conditions, prior operations, your ability to cope with potential risks of each procedure, and your lifestyle.

What should I expect after surgery?

Most people will be able to return to normal types of food a few weeks following the operation. There is a strict diet regime you would need to follow for the first 4 weeks following the operation. We will discuss this with you and give you a detailed information booklet when you have the procedure. You should notice that you feel full, or restricted, after smaller meals than you were previously used to. This is normal and the anticipated effect of weight loss surgery.

Some people notice “dumping” effects after weight loss surgery, this involves feeling flushed, dizzy, and weak after very sugary rich meals. This effect lasts for short periods following a meal and usually the body adapts and it doesn’t persist for more than a few weeks.

Some people experience intolerance to certain foods following weight loss surgery and their overall appetite changes. No-one can predict who this will occur with.

What about vitamin deficiencies?

It is extremely rare that anyone develops vitamin deficiencies after a weight loss operation. We do encourage you to take multivitamins however as you may dramatically reduce the intake of usual foods which contain the vitamins and minerals you would have previously been eating. We do notice that a large proportion of people we test before a weight loss procedure already are slightly deficient in certain vitamins. There is no harm in taking a daily vitamin supplement.

What about refunds from the ATO for Medical Expenses?

It is possible to claim a rebate form the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) when you submit your end of year tax return. Weight loss procedures qualify for the medical expenses safety net. If the net total of all of your medical expenses for the financial year exceed $2120, you can claim a tax offset of 20% of your net medical expenses over $2120. This is not means tested and there is no limit on the amount you can claim.

FOR EXAMPLE:  If your total out of pocket expense is $5000:You may get a tax rebate of $576 ($5000-$2120) X 20% = $576 you can claim back as a rebate.

Check with your accountant if this applies to you. For further details see the Australian Taxation Office website by clicking here.