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Bariatric surgery prolongs life and benefits the healthcare system

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(Vienna, 09 December 2021) Bariatric surgery prolongs the lives of patients, improves their quality-of-life and results in long-term cost-savings for the healthcare system. This is the finding of a new study conducted under the direction of the Division of Visceral Surgery within the Department of General Surgery at MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna.

Also known as "metabolic surgery", depending on the indication, bariatric surgery comprises a range of minimally invasive surgical techniques that help to achieve permanent weight reduction in the individuals concerned. This also significantly improves comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, joint problems or sleep apnoea. A recent study conducted under the direction of the Division of Visceral Surgery of the Department of General Surgery at MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna, in collaboration with Hollabrunn Regional Hospital and the Institute for Pharmaeconomic Research, has now shown that this method of treatment has additional impacts on the individuals in question and on the healthcare system.

"In the study, we found that there is a significant improvement in the quality-of-life of patients following surgery and that their life expectancy is increased. Depending on the concomitant disease that is present, the results show that the life of those affected is prolonged by several years, for example by around seven years in the case of type 2 diabetes," said Gerhard Prager from the Division of Visceral Surgery and co-author of the study.

In the long term, bariatric-metabolic surgery also has a beneficial impact on the healthcare system. "The study shows that bariatric-metabolic surgery results in long-term cost savings by reducing costly treatments for comorbidities and improving the patients' overall health," Prager concludes.

In Austria, 3.7 million people over the age of 15 are overweight, around 17% of these being obese, i.e. having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m². Obesity is a chronic disease that carries a high health risk. If left untreated, the life expectancy of affected individuals is reduced by up to seven years and they can expect consequences such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Approximately 3,000 bariatric or metabolic procedures are performed in Austria each year.

Service: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Impact of metabolic surgery on cost and long-term health outcome: a cost-effectiveness approach. Evelyn Walter, Felix B. Langer, Philipp Beckerhinn, Franz Hoffer, Gerhard Prager. Link: doi.org/10.1016/j.soard.2021.10.012