According to this study, patient demographics that undergo bariatric surgical procedures haven’t changed. This remains true despite significant changes in insurance coverage of weight loss surgery since 2007. The study also discovered that patient safety outcomes have remained stable too. These statistics were measured in mortality and morbidity rates. These rates remain unchanged since 2007 with just 2% of patient reporting complications and deaths only occurring in .1% of all surgeries.
Weight Loss Surgery Complications Rates (Mortality) 2007 Through 2014
According to Ranjan Sudan, MD, a robotic and bariatric surgeon and vice chair of education at Duke University Health System, this study can become an average for these types of medical cases. Dr. Sudan presented this study on behalf of the entire research committee at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Obesity Week in 2013.
The study created a particular look at U.S. surgical facilities or hospitals by ethnicity, age, gender, rate of complication, procedure and outcome. The study found there were very few changes from 2007 to 2011 during their research. Ultimately, there were no significant changes or increases in the percentage of men, diabetes patients or minorities who elected to have weight loss surgery.
The study’s researchers looked at 364,000 patients with 1.75% of these patients experiencing a severe adverse event a month after surgery and just 2.02% experiencing this within a year. The overall one-year steady AE rate remained close to the national average at its highest, 2.18% in 2009 and its lowest 1.66% in 2011.
Ultimately, this study’s data is not risk adjusted, which means that it is nearly impossible to compare death or complication rates across different procedures. It is understood that patients with a higher body mass index or more excess weight undergo the more extensive weight loss surgeries such as biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch or gastric bypass. Because of this, the researchers don’t feel that comparing complication rates across procedures will add any value to the study and its findings.
They found the one-year mortality rate was:
- .84% for duodenal switch surgery (view all complications)
- .11% for gastric sleeve surgery (view all complications)
- .26% for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (view all complications)
- .05% for gastric banding surgery (view all complications)
Ultimately, this study offers a look at real-life benchmarks for bariatric surgical procedures that can be used against what surgeons suggest regarding outcomes for patients.
The study found that more Hispanic and black patients are electing to have bariatric surgery. The percentage of black patients rose from 10.11% in 2007 to 13.43% in 2011. Also, the number of Hispanics increased from 5.84 to 8.44%.
The most common comorbidities found in these patients were Type II Diabetes, musculoskeletal disorder, sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Ultimately, this study remains a good “snapshot” of weight loss surgery in the United States. While the data may not reflect high-quality data often found in nonsurgical data, it does show that surgery is very safe and should be encouraging to patients to elect to continue to have the surgical procedures.