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Complications and Costs for Obesity Surgery Declining

Thanks to several factors, complications arising from bariatric surgery and the resulting costs have declined over the last several years, a new study shows.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has discovered that on average, complications relating to bariatric surgery declined 21% between 2002 and 2006. Much of this improvement is attributable to an increased use of vertical-banded gastroplasty and lap-band surgery over gastric bypass surgery, more use of laparoscopy, and increased technical experience among surgeons performing said procedures. As an additional benefit, hospital payments for bariatric surgery patients also dropped, partially due to the reduced need for hospital re-admissions from complications.

“Recent Improvements in Bariatric Surgery Outcomes,” published in the May 2009 Medical Care, detailed that the complication rate among bariatric surgical patients dropped approximately 24%, mainly occurring due to a significant decrease of 58% in the rate of post-surgical infections. Additionally, complications like staple leakage and abdominal hernias, among others, decreased by between 29 and 50%.

The research found that even with an increase in the number of older and sicker patients having bariatric surgery, the complication rate still declined. The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, said that people “considering an elective procedure need unbiased, science-based evidence of its benefits and risks . . . all surgeries involve risks, but as newer technologies emerge and surgeons and hospitals gain experience, as this study shows, risks can decrease.”


One response to “Complications and Costs for Obesity Surgery Declining”

  1. Julie Avatar

    This surgery was a breeze for me. I am 59 years old and had it done on the day before Christmas Eve. I was up baking Christmas cookies at 6 a.m the next morning and drove on Christmas Day 25 miles to my sisters house. I didn’t even have to ever take any of the pain or nausea medication that i had filled(as a precaution). If i had to do it again i would a thousand times over. My quality of life has greatly improved as i have lost 60 lbs and still losing.I think i have 6 1/4 cc’s now in the lapband and pretty much eat anything within reason, just don’t want much of it!!! I just love it!!!

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