January 14, 2020

Changes in use of bariatric surgery from 1993 to 2016

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The safety of bariatric surgery has improved since 1993, and there has been a growth in the number of bariatric procedures performed, this study finds. However, utilization has only marginally increased.

Of an estimated 1,903,273 patients who had bariatric surgery between 1993 and 2016, the mean age was 43.9 years, 79.9% were women, 70.9% were white, and 70.7% had commercial insurance.


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Bariatric surgical procedures were exclusively open in 1993, and in 2016, they were 98% laparoscopic.

Complication and mortality rates were at their highest in 1998 at 11.7% and 1%, respectively, and then they progressively decreased to 1.4% and 0.04%, respectively, by 2016.

Utilization of bariatric surgery grew from 0.07% in 1993 to 0.62% in 2004 and stayed low at 0.5% in 2016.

Addressing the barriers for utilization may allow for greater access to bariatric surgery, the researchers note.

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