Weight Loss Surgery Safer at High Volume Hospitals

Weight loss surgery patients who have their procedure at a hospital serving higher patient volumes typically have a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications, according to a new study by Healthgrades. The organization has initiated a new rating system to indicate which hospitals have the best track record.

3 surgeons operating_jpgHey, travelers, ever stayed in a five star hotel? If so, you know how great it can be. But would you believe that having your weight loss surgery done at a five-star hospital can give you better results than you’d get elsewhere?

It’s true – at least according to a new study from health ratings organization HealthGrades.

The survey, which rated the quality of weight loss surgery services in hospitals in 19 states, examined the number of complications reported by patients who had a gastric bypass, gastric banding, or combination procedure. Hospitals with lower numbers of patient complications were awarded “stars” – the lower the number of complications, the more stars that hospital got.

The results were not surprising: hospitals with higher patient volume received more stars than those serving lower numbers of patients. And, after tallying up the numbers, the study group concluded that *patients who had weight loss surgery at the high volume hospitals were almost 70% less likely to develop post-surgical complications than patients getting the same procedure in lower-volume hospitals.

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Patients in high-volume hospitals also had shorter hospital stays – more than half a day less in most cases – and a post-operative death rate some one-third of the lowest-rated hospitals.

The gist of all this is that it’s better – statistically speaking – to have your weight loss surgery at a big-volume, big-city hospital than at a small hospital or one in a remote location.

Of course, that’s a generalization: there are plenty of high volume hospitals that aren’t that great, and plenty of small and local hospitals that offer superb care. Since hospitals vary so much in quality, it’s a good idea to research both the doctor and the hospital you’re considering for your weight loss surgery before making any decision.

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