Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Low Weight Loss Surgery Complication Rate Can Benefit the Bottom Line

One issue that has plagued bariatric surgery has been the associated complications. After the surgery, some patients experience vomiting, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, nausea, infection, bleeding and other problems.

Complications add to the cost of the surgery. For example, a complication-free surgery may cost about $30,000. With complications, that cost could more than double. In some cases with complications, the costs could go even higher. So keeping the bariatric surgery complication rate low is a way to contain the associated bariatric surgery costs.

A July, 2006 New York Times article reported that bariatric surgery complication rates were as high as 40 percent. But today, bariatric surgery related complications appear to be less frequent and less severe than in the past.

Indeed, according to an October, 2007 study whose results were mentioned in MedLine Plus, the complication rate associated with gastric bypass surgery, the most popular form of bariatric surgery, is approximately twenty five percent. And severe complications were experienced in only one percent of the surgeries.

To achieve these low complication rates, the team performing the operation should be experienced, candidates for the surgery have to be selected carefully, and experts in multiple areas -- including nutrition, psychiatry, rehabilitation and exercise -- must be part of the team providing care to the patient.

Maintaining a low complication rate is important to a weight loss or bariatric surgical center. A reputation for low complications can be important to the center's bottom line. Those involved in strategic management (users of environmental scanning, and other competitive intelligence tools) should urge the center's management to insure that the necessary equipment and personnel are in place to reduce or maintain low bariatric or weight loss surgical complications.



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