Hospitals to Promote Ratings on Bariatric Surgery Outcomes

Once considered a radical procedure, bariatric surgery has now become more commonplace and is a lifesaving technique for many patients. The industry has been measuring the outcomes of these procedures and grading hospitals. As a result, both hospitals and surgeons are likely to be promoting their success with weight-​loss surgery in order to attract more patients.

About 4 in 10 U.S. adults will eventually become obese and make good candidates for weight-​loss surgery if other techniques like diet, exercise and medications fail. Currently, about 201,800 weight-​loss surgeries are performed annually in this country in hospitals.  The types of surgery performed vary:

  • Banding procedures 54,822
  • Other laparoscopic 132,668
  • Malabsorptive (gastric bypass) 13,047
  • Biliopancreatic diversion 1,284

On average, the industry experiences a 5.87% complication rate. In addition, patients experience a mortality rate of 0.057%. These statistics have prompted Healthgrades to study patient outcomes and rank hospitals. The study shows that hospitals which perform fewer than 75 annual procedures have the highest complication rate. Those performing over 375 procedures have the lowest complication rates.

The costs for these surgeries range from $41,594 for laparoscopy to $45, 137 for an open procedure. However, when patient outcomes are considered, the top 20% of hospitals end up charging $3,189 less for these procedures and patient stays are also shorter. Analysts believe this may be linked to the lower rate of complications.

In promoting this procedure, medical professionals are likely to point out that weight-​loss surgery is proven to decrease obesity for the long term, and to reduce type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.  Ad campaigns may also point out that bariatric surgery is superior to liposuction for controlling diabetes and cholesterol. Upcoming ad campaigns will now be more likely to tout which facilities have been rated 5‑Star and have the Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award.

[Source: Choosing Bariatric Surgery to Improve Health. Healthgrades​.com. 2012. Web. 4 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.