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  • Cost of weight loss surgery recouped in 2-4 years in lower medical costs; $500-$900 saved per month

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Monday, September 08, 2008 4:40 am Email this article
    The cost of bariatric surgery for morbidly obese patients, that is those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more and a cost which ranged from approximately $17,000 to $26,000, was recouped in 2 to 4 years in reduced medical costs according to a new study.

    A year-and-a-half after surgery, those who underwent open surgery had medical savings of $500 per month.

    Slightly more than a year after surgery (13 months later), those who underwent laparoscopic surgery had medical savings of $900 per month.
    Cost Savings

    Cost savings from doctors visits, prescription drug costs and hospital visits

    The reduced medical costs were the “result from reductions in prescription drug costs, physician visit costs, and hospital costs (including emergency department visits and inpatient and outpatient visits),” the paper noted.

    “The reduced costs are associated with multiple major diagnosis categories, including diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and sleep apnea.”


    Laparoscopic Surgery

    Cost of laparoscopic surgery recouped in 2 years

    The cost of laparoscopic surgery, which was $17,000, was recouped within 2 years.


    Open Surgery

    Cost of open surgery recouped in 4 years

    The cost of open surgery, which was $26,000, was was recouped within 4 years.



    Subjects: 3651 morbidly obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery vs 3651 morbidly obese people who did not

    The study compared the medical costs of 3651 morbidly obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery from 1999 to 2005 to the same number of morbidly obese patients who did not undergo bariatric surgery.



    86% of subjects were female

    Most of the patients were female (86 percent), who, on average, were 44-years-old.



    More than one-third had hypertension

    More than one-third of the sample had hypertension.



    Nearly one-fifth had unhealthy cholesterol levels or diabetes

    Nearly 20 percent had dyslipidemia or diabetes mellitus.

    Subjects were matched for medical conditions associated with obesity

    The patients were matched to controls using a subset of the following 10 comorbidities: asthma, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux, hypertension, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and urinary incontinence.

    The data analysis also accounted for an additional 8 comorbidities including breast cancer, congestive heart failure, lymphedema, major depression, osteoarthritis, polycystic ovary syndrome, pseudotumor cerebri, and venous stasis or leg ulcers.



    Conclusion: Surgery costs recouped in 2-4 years

    “After taking into account age, sex, and comorbidities, the initial investment is returned within 4 years for patients who undergo open surgery and within 2 years for patients who undergo laparoscopic surgery,” the authors of the study concluded.

    “Even ignoring potential quality-of-life and length-of-life benefits, as well as disability and work loss, third-party payers can rely on bariatric surgery paying for itself through decreased comorbidities within 2 to 4 years.”


    Crémieux P-Y, Buchwald H, Shikora SA, Ghosh A, Yang HE, Buessing M. A study on the economic impact of bariatric surgery. Am J Manag Care. 2008 Sep, 14(9):589-96.


    Paper Posted Here

    Paper available for free here

    The paper is available for free here.


    Pierre-Yves Crémieux, PhD
    Analysis Group, Inc
    111 Huntington Ave, 10th Fl
    Boston, MA 02199 USA
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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