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Bariatric Surgery and Medical Expenses
Bariatric surgery is the field of surgery that specializes in metabolic and weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. The procedures serve as a tool to assist patients who are morbidly obese achieve a healthy weight and reverse obesity-related medical conditions. Bariatric surgery is indicated for persons that are 100 pounds or more over their ideal weight.
Medical Expenses Associated With Obesity
Obesity is a disease state that affects the entire body and its organ systems. Individuals suffering from obesity may have a range of medical conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, acid reflux and arthritis, to name a few. These individuals are also at increased risk of having acute events such as heart attacks and strokes. When undergoing surgical procedures, these patients are at increased risk for complications such as blood clots, wound infections, pneumonia and formation of hernias.
When considering the cost of healthcare, individuals that are suffering from obesity tend to be on multiple medications that need to be refilled on a monthly basis. They are more likely to be seen in their physicians' offices several times per year and even monthly in some cases. Frequent hospitalizations and longer hospital stays are also more likely for the person suffering from obesity. The expenses related to medical care are usually a function of the individual's health.
Reversal of Disease States With Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery has been shown to provide long-term weight loss in 5- and 10-year studies. It has also been shown to reverse many medical conditions most notably hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. There is also a reduction in the likelihood of complications such as diabetic neuropathy, or heart failure from heart disease, or need for joint replacements due to arthritis, among others.
Medical Savings Associated With Weight Loss
Weight loss and reversal of health conditions often translates to less need for medications, less need for frequent physician visits, less need for frequent hospitalizations, less frequent lab testing, less frequent diagnostic studies, and prevention of obesity related complications. This translates to less spending on healthcare that over time leads to significant cost savings.
The results from bariatric surgery are based on using the procedures as a tool and a commitment to lifestyle changes that promote weight loss and healthy living.