Gastric band surgery pays for itself in two years, study finds

23rd June 2011


The researchers behind a new study published in America have claimed that gastric band surgery will pay for itself within just over two years for patients with diabetes.

Patients who do not have underlying health conditions will see the value of the surgery recovered within four years, the study claimed.

Results were based on the medical costs which would otherwise have been incurred in this period for the treatment of obesity-related issues.

The study, which was conducted at Duke University in North Carolina, in the US, compared data from more than 7,000 people who had undergone surgery with a similar number who had not.

Results showed that while post-surgery medical costs for the gastric band group declined, they continued to rise for the control group, showing that the surgery led to significant savings.

Lead study author Eric A Finkelstein said: "Although the gastric banding procedure is associated with upfront costs, our analysis shows that those costs are recovered in a relatively short period of time."

He added that the results may allay the fears of some insurance providers who are reluctant to cover the costs of bariatric surgery.

The National Bariatric Surgery Registry has said that bariatric surgery should be made more widely available on the NHS as it would help to limit the impact of the cost of treating growing numbers of morbidly obese people who develop related health problems.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1. Finkelstein, Eric, et al. "The financial implications of coverage for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding." Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. May 2010.

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