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Weight loss surgery is a growing industry. The number of operations performed in this field has grown rapidly in recent years. For instance, from 1998 to 2004, the number of weight loss surgeries performed annually grew by more than 100,000. In 2008, about 200,000 surgeries were undergone. An interesting thing with regard to this fact is the influence this growth has had on the cost of such surgical operations. In general, the cost is falling.


Most people - 85% - who undergo the surgery are between 55 and 64 years of age. It is more common to see the surgery being performed on women. In fact, more than 82% of surgeries were performed on women. Interestingly, gastric bypass surgery accounted for 94% of all surgical procedures in 2004. In the period 1998 to 2004, hospital costs also rose significantly, from $147 million in 1998 to $1.3 billion in 2004. At the end of this period, around 78% of these surgeries were paid for through private insurance, and only 5% of operations were not covered by insurance. This would seem to put and end to the idea that insurance will not cover the cost of gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

The operation is used to treat those who are considered morbidly obese. This is defined by having a BMI of greater than 40. However, the operation is also performed in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and other conditions.

The gastric bypass operation itself involves the reduction in size of the stomach. The stomach is also divided into a small pouch and a large pouch - the small intestine is rearranged in order to ensure it remains attached to both pouches. After the operation has finished with its focus on the stomach, a section of the intestine is also bypassed; this allows for lower absorption of food. Gastric bypass surgery has been shown to reduce the mortality rate of obese patients by as much as 40%.Other options

Some different types of procedure do exist when it comes to weight loss surgery; for example, one might undergo a vertical banded gastroplasty, gastric banding, lap band surgery, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding or robotic surgery. It is estimated that the number of gastric bypasses being performed will drop as a result of the introduction of new methods such as those listed above, in particular lap banding.

Obesity does, however, continue to grow. Thus, it remains to be seen exactly how the costs of gastric bypass surgery will fluctuate over the coming years.

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