Short answer, yes you can. The Department of Human Services manages this and you are able to draw down superannuation for ‘life-threatening’ procedures. 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 DHS is significant and the process is also arduous. You should also seek financial advice before proceeding.
To start the process you need to visit your MyGov account, link Centrelink services and complete the online application. If you don’t have a MyGov you will need to register.
MyGov is a central hub for all Government departments. The MyGov account is the starting point, then you will link any or all services you access such as Medicare, ATO, Centrelink etc.
To link Centrelink to your MyGov account you will need your Centrelink Customer Registration Number (CRN) These are usually found on any letters sent to you by Centrelink. If you do not have a Centrelink Customer Registration Number (CRN) you will need to go to a Centrelink office and register for one. You will need 100 points of ID (primary and secondary) and it’s a good idea to also take in a bill or rates notice. While you are there, ask them to assist you to link your Centrelink account to your MyGov account. They may help you at the office, or they will supply you a ‘linking code’ that is entered into your MyGov account to link Govt services.
Once you have your Centrelink account linked to your MyGov account, go to the Centrelink app and follow the instructions below.
You will need to follow the instructions to complete the application. Contact us if you have questions about how to get Specialist sign-off so you can still proceed with surgery overseas.
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, flog 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.
Caution: Most people who are putting on weight after surgery are cheating. Honestly 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 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-$30,000+. In Malaysia the estimated cost dependent on the exchange rate and procedure is less than $12,000 including the hospital costs.
See our costs estimate page for more detail.
Because of the process of the procedure carried out in Malaysia, 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 3 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 10-15kg lighter!