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Many doctors recommend weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, for the severely obese because diet and exercise alone cannot help to reduce body weight to a healthy level after reaching a certain threshold. For many people, weight loss surgery eventually means fewer health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or even a stroke over the course of their lifetime. This can also mean fewer medical-related costs for treatment. Results of a new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis finds that bariatric surgery is also a cost-effective solution for patients who are mildly obese.
According to this study, patients who have had the surgery are more likely to keep the weight off over time and have fewer medical problems associated with being overweight. The amount of money they invest in a bariatric surgery procedure could translate to substantial savings in healthcare costs over the course of their lifetime, and committing to a healthier lifestyle over the long-term would further reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases.
Su-Hsin Chang, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the Division of Public Health Sciences and first author on the study published in the journal Maturitas states, “If lifetime medical costs are taken into consideration, surgery saves severely obese patients money”. The average cost for bariatric surgery ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 for the initial surgery, and patients do incur more costs for follow-up care and treatments. However, this initial cost could end up reducing many of the costs associated with the treatment of obesity-related diseases, many of which aren’t covered by medical insurance.
Learn more about the cost of bariatric surgery here.