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Bariatric Surgery Cost-Effective in Very Obese With Diabetes

Researchers look at gastric banding, gastric bypass in severely obese patients with diabetes

THURSDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Both gastric bypass and gastric banding are cost-effective ways to reduce diabetes-associated complications and mortality among severely obese individuals with diabetes, according to research published in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

Thomas J. Hoerger, Ph.D., of RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues used a validated diabetes cost-effectiveness model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery in severely obese individuals (body mass index ≥35 kg/m²) who also have diabetes.

The investigators found that bariatric surgery increased quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and increased costs. Bypass surgery was associated with cost-effectiveness ratios of $7,000 per QALY for severely obese patients with newly diagnosed disease and $12,000 per QALY for severely obese patients with established diabetes. Banding surgery had cost-effectiveness ratios of $11,000 per QALY for severely obese patients with newly diagnosed disease and $13,000 per QALY for severely obese patients with established diabetes. The authors concluded that both procedures were cost-effective methods of reducing diabetes-related complications and mortality in this population.

"We do not find that bariatric surgery is cost-saving. Therefore, health care costs will increase if more individuals receive bariatric surgery, but the increased costs appear to offer good value," the authors write.

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