New England Journal of Medicine Confirms Weight Loss Surgery Is Safe
In a wildly reported study in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. David Flum and his colleagues reported that the risk of major complications among patients undergoing weight loss surgery had dropped dramatically in recent years. There study reported that for every 1,000 patients undergoing the surgery three died and forty-three had a major complication. In an increasing number of similar studies the risk of death is similar or even lower.
Many health policy analysts and many of those outside the weight loss surgery field have begun paying close attention to the cost associated with treating obesity and conditions related to being overweight. They also recognize that the danger of being overweight or obese now far exceeds the risks of weight loss surgery. An accompanying editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine Dr. Malcolm Robinson from Harvard Medical School wrote that the weight of the evidence now shows that weight loss surgery is “safe, effective and affordable”, but “the expense of operating on the millions of potentially eligible, obese adults could overwhelm an already financially stressed health care system”.
Other news reports have described the burgeoning health care costs associated with obesity, perhaps because surgically solving the obesity problem will represent a large, up front and more immediate cost and health insurers are likely to balk at easy access to this important treatment.