More than a third of Americans, 36%, have undergone gastric bypass surgery, a procedure that uses small tubes inserted into the stomach to deliver food into the colon.
But the procedure is not without its downsides, such as its high cost, according to new research.
In the latest analysis of obesity and weight loss surgery, researchers from the University of California San Francisco and the University at Buffalo found that the average annual cost of gastric surgery is $8,965.
The most commonly used surgery, gastric stentation, costs $1,086.
The researchers also analyzed the costs of other procedures, such hip replacement surgeries, knee replacements and breast augmentation.
The cost of surgeries that included gastric evacuation or stent placement was $1.2 million, with about 80% of the surgeries occurring in the U.S.
A separate analysis of surgeries performed at private hospitals in the past decade found that in the years before gastric tube surgery, only about 3% of hospitals were operating with an average of $7,600.
The number of people receiving the procedures has dropped significantly, to about 1,000 per year in the early 2000s, according the researchers.
A spokesman for the American Society of Gastroenterology said the surgery cost has dropped since the late 1990s, but the society still recommends against it.
“The cost is still high, and I don’t think it’s any less effective than the other surgeries that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” said the spokesman, Andrew Schulte.
The price of gastrostomy, a surgical procedure that removes a portion of a stomach, has also decreased, with an estimated price of $3,000 in 2017.
But this has been offset by the rise in the number of gastrarians.
Dr. Michael C. O’Connor, a senior vice president at the University Health Network, a non-profit that tracks obesity and obesity-related health issues, said the gastric procedure is becoming less popular because it’s not effective.
He said it may be too expensive for patients with other conditions, such heart failure and kidney failure, to get the surgery.
“I think it will continue to be a difficult surgery for a number of reasons,” O’Connors said.
“For one, the procedure itself is very invasive, requiring extensive abdominal surgery.
It can cause discomfort, and the surgical incisions can be very painful.”
Some gastric surgeons say they’re not concerned about the increasing cost of surgery because of the low reimbursement rates that come with it.
For example, Dr. Robert E. Siegel, a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, said he doesn’t see a need for an increase in the cost of the procedure for his patients because it costs less than other surgeries.
He added that the gastrarian surgery costs about half of what a colonoscopy costs.
“It’s a much more efficient operation,” Siegel said.
“A lot of surgeons are saying that if you’re in your 50s, 70s, 80s, you need to do gastric resection and gastric lift to lose a few pounds,” he said.
The surgeon said he believes there is a strong correlation between obesity and morbidity, particularly in older people.
“Obesity is a major public health problem, and if you have obesity, you’re more likely to have a lot of health problems than if you don’t,” he explained.
“If you have excess weight, you tend to get some of the same health problems as people who are thin.”
Dr. James A. Schulman, a professor of internal medicine at the Harvard Medical School, said that gastric distention surgery is often more expensive than the alternative of a hysterectomy, which is a procedure to remove the uterus and uterus lining.
“There are some people who have problems that are just not possible with hysteline,” he added.
But he noted that the cost difference between gastric and hystèrectomy is often less than the difference between hystène and gastrosteum, which are surgeries that are performed in a small section of the body.
Dr Schulmann also said that the American Diabetes Association does not recommend gastric removal, as long as a patient is fit.
“But in a patient who has diabetes, you want to make sure that there’s no excess fluid or blood coming into the body,” he suggested.