MI data suggests weight-loss surgery getting safer

At least in Michigan, it appears that bariatric surgery may be getting safer. This, at least, is the conclusion suggested by first year of data collected from a registry there, maintained by a collaborative funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The registry's data is based on 332 patients, which it began tracking in July 2006. A recent analysis of registry data found that deaths and serious complications are rare. The registry data also suggests that weight loss one year after surgery varies by which procedure the patient had, and that some surgeries work better than others at helping people stop taking diabetes and blood pressure medications. 

The Lap-Band, the most common bariatric procedure, was the safest procedure tracked by the registry, but generated an average loss of only 57 pounds in the first year after the operation. Meanwhile, people achieved 102 pound losses on average per year after minimally-invasive gastric bypass surgery and 118 pounds after conventional gastric bypasses. However, minimally-invasive gastric bypass surgery had the highest rates of reoperations, extended hospital stays, deaths and other adverse events. Despite this increased safety risk, life-threatening events were only 0.5 percent for minimally-invasive gastric bypasses, significantly lower than rates of about 2 percent in 2000.

To learn more about the registry:
- read this Detroit Free Press article

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