Weight Loss Surgery Safer Than Ever

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Weight Loss Surgery Safer Than Ever

A new study by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that shows that complications from adjustable gastric banding procedures and other types of weight loss surgery in the United States dropped by a full 21% during the five years between 2001 and 2006.

The study, which appears in the May 2009 Medical Care, was compiled from patient data from 9,500 obesity surgery patients under age 65.

At the start of the study, some 24% of patients – almost one in four – reported serious complications due to their weight loss surgery; by its end, that rate had dropped to 15%.

Fewer hernias, wound leakage and respiratory problems were reported as well. And although the numbers of some types of complications, such as ulcers, remained steady, it’s statistically certain that the overall rate of complications is dropping.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services researchers cite three main factors behind the decline in complications: an increased use of laparoscopy, an increased use of banding procedures without gastric bypass and increased surgeon experience in providing the procedure.

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