There are provisions that can allow you to use your superannuation to pay for life-threatening medical conditions however there are several things you need to consider that is best discussed with a registered financial advisor.
The Australian Tax Office manages this (transitioned from Dept of Human Services) and under their guidelines, you are able to draw down superannuation for procedures or treatments for ‘life-threatening’ medical conditions. Generally, if you are in the obese category or suffering from weight-related illnesses your GP will more than likely support you having gastric surgery. Please be aware that the wait times for ATO approval can be around a month. IMPORTANT: You should seek financial advice before proceeding.
There are many surgeons in Australia who offer bariatric procedures through the private health system. It is harder to find a surgeon who will operate if you do not have top private health cover. A New Life Australia use one surgeon who is based in Malaysia. He is a pioneer in bariatric (gastric) surgery and performs hundreds of surgeries per year, in fact, he has performed over 2,500 gastric procedures in his career. Please see our Doctors page for more information.
Most Australian surgeons will have patients on Optifast (or similar) 2-4 weeks prior to the surgery and 2-4 weeks post surgery. The reason this is a requirement is to reduce the size of your liver to make surgery easier, it also is due to some procedures (especially sleeves) where there is a concern of leakage.
A New Life and our Doctors in Malaysia do not require you to be on Optifast pre or post surgery. You can eat right up to 8 hours before surgery and you are started on real food day one after surgery. The reasoning is three-fold.
Optifast may assist in shedding weight fast, but gastric surgery results should be understood to be a marathon, not a sprint. You will still lose weight rapidly with real food, but you won’t feel like you are being deprived. You will also have energy and be eating normal foods within 30 days, just in much smaller amounts. No energy and lack of motivation is a common complaint by those who are on an Optifast regime.
Our bodies are amazing. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that our body is a machine designed to survive. We can starve it, punish it with exercise and it will stubbornly hold onto fat.
The scales stop moving sometimes in the first few weeks after surgery because the body is constantly adjusting to what you are feeding it, and the energy you are using in daily activities. Because you are now living on between 700-1000 calories a day (and not feeling hungry due to the surgery) your body is fighting the change and you will see weeks where you lose a lot, and weeks where it doesn’t move. On average, most clients lose between 2kg and 7kg a week in the first 3 months. Remember, this is an average and may not happen week in week out.
Just remember, scales can be the enemy!
Some people won’t lose on the scales but drop dress/pants sizes week after week, then all of a sudden it seems the scales catch up. The fact is, if you are following the eating plan and not drinking calories, you will lose weight. This is not an opinion, this is a fact of science and mathematics.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person
Caution: Most people who are putting on weight after surgery are cheating. Honesty is required with yourself if you want this to work. This surgery is going to assist you to break sometimes life-long overeating habits. Your body will FORCE you to start eating good food, whereas prior to surgery the sheer volume of food is was able to provide enough nutrients even if the quality was low.
In Australia, cost of bariatric surgery is between $15,000-$35,000+. In Malaysia the estimated cost dependent on the exchange rate and procedure is less than $10,500 including the hospital costs.
See our costs estimate page for more detail.
Because of the advanced processes Dr. Tikfu Gee uses during surgery, most patients are up and about the day of surgery, getting out and about after 3 days and able to go home after 7 days. If you have a sedentary job, you can be back at work in 2 weeks, but it is recommended you take 4-5 weeks minimum. After all, even though the procedure is minimally invasive – you have just had major surgery.
It is recommended that you spend 6 weeks in total recovery before resuming normal activities.
If you travel to Malaysia it is a good idea to enjoy it! Have a holiday. See the sights and come back 6-10kg lighter!