Healthcare Utilization and Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery.

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This study showing a higher complication rate with the gastric bypass, was NOT done by bariatric surgeons. It was published in the beginning of August in "Medical Care, the official journal of the American public health assn":

Original Article

Medical Care. 44(8):706-712, August 2006.
Encinosa, William E. PhD *; Bernard, Didem M. PhD +; Chen, Chi-Chang PhD, MS, Pharm ++; Steiner, Claudia A. MD, MPH *

Objective: Bariatric surgery is one of the fastest growing hospital procedures. Our objective is to examine the safety outcomes and utilization of resources in the 6 months after bariatric surgery using a nationwide, population-based sample.

Data/Design: We examine insurance claims for 2522 bariatric surgeries, at 308 hospitals, among a population of 5.6 million nonelderly people covered by large employers in the 2001-2002 MarketScan data. Outcomes and costs were risk-adjusted using multivariate regression methods.

Principal Findings: Although the complication rate was 21.9% during the initial surgical stay, the rate increased by 81% (P < 0.01) to 39.6% (95% confidence interval, 37.7-41.5%) over the 180 days after discharge. A total of 10.8% of the patients without 30-day complications developed a complication between 30 days and 180 days. Overall, 18.2% of the patients had some type of postoperative visit to the hospital with a complication (through readmission, outpatient hospital visit, or emergency room visit) within 180 days. Although there was no difference between men and women, the near-elderly had a 26% (P < 0.01) higher risk-adjusted complication rate than those age 18 to 39 years. Total 6-month risk-adjusted healthcare payments were $65,031 for those with 180-day readmissions compared with $27,125 for those without readmissions (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: In contrast to current bariatric studies, which report a 20% in-hospital complication rate, we find a significantly higher complication rate over the 6 months after surgery, resulting in costly readmissions and emergency room visits. Thus, a clear way to reduce the costs and improve outcomes of bariatric surgery is to address the high rate of postoperative complications.