Weight-Loss Surgeries Increase, Related Deaths Remain Low, Study Says
The number of weight-loss surgeries performed at California hospitals increased by nearly 7% from 2005 to 2009, but deaths associated with the procedure have remained relatively low, according to a report by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
OSHPD examined five types of weight-loss -- or bariatric -- surgery, the safety of the procedures and the number of surgeries carried out at hospitals (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/26).
Details of the Report
The report found that 94 hospitals in the state performed weight-loss surgeries in 2009 (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 10/27).
Hospitals performed 13,500 procedures that year, up by 6.8% since 2005, the report found.
Mortality rates associated with the procedures remained low, according to the data. Between 2005 and 2009, 40 patients died in surgery and 79 died within 30 days of surgery.
Researchers found that the lowest-risk surgery was laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding -- or Lap-Band surgery -- which involves inserting an inflatable ring at the top of the stomach.
The highest-risk procedure was biliopancreatic diversion, which involves bypassing the small intestine and removing part of the stomach. This procedure usually is used for morbidly obese patients who have not had success with other surgeries, according to state officials (Evans, Contra Costa Times, 10/27).
The report also found that:
- Hospital readmission rates within 30 days of a procedure was 6.4%, compared with an overall 2.6% rate statewide for inpatient admissions,Â excluding those for cancer and maternity care (Payers & Providers, 10/27); and
- Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital performed 878 bariatric surgeries in 2009, compared with the statewide average of 153 (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 10/26).
Stephanie Clendenin -- acting director of OSHPD -- said, "Californians should discuss all options for weight loss with their physicians to determine the most appropriate course of care."
She added that patients can use the report to find data about the number of procedures performed at particular hospitals and outcomes associated with each procedure (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.