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Effective cost reduction strategies require effective analyses of charges.Costs and charges for laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic gastric banding were compared. Equipment costs, both disposable and reusable, were obtained. Data on the total charges, anesthesiology charges, and hospital charges were obtained; univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.Disposable equipment costs for laparoscopic gastric bypass totaled $3516.23, for laparoscopic gastric banding they were $4363; the difference stemmed from the $3195 laparoscopic band. Median total charges for the procedures differed by less than $100 (P=0.81). Hospital charges for gastric bypass were about $275 (P=0.087) more for bypass than for banding.Effective cost reduction strategies require cost analyses of each individual procedure; results for one procedure cannot necessarily be generalized to another procedure even if overall costs do not differ.