Trends in Bariatric Surgical Procedures

The increasing prevalence and associated sociodemographic disparities of morbid obesity are serious public health concerns. This study examined recent U.S. trends in elective bariatric surgical procedures, patient characteristics and in-hospital complications. Data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to identify bariatric surgery admissions from 1998 to 2002.

Key Findings:

  • The estimated number of bariatric surgical procedures increased from 13,365 in 1998 to 72,177 in 2002. Based on preliminary state-level data, the number of bariatric surgical procedures is projected to be 102,794 in 2003.
  • More than 80 percent of all bariatric surgical procedures were gastric bypass procedures. Over the study period, there were increases in bariatric surgical procedures for females, privately insured patients, patients from ZIP code areas with highest annual household income and patients aged 50 to 64 years of age.
  • Length of hospital stay decreased from 4.5 days in 1998 to 3.3 days in 2002. The adjusted in-hospital mortality rate was between 0.1 and 0.2 percent. Rates of unexpected reoperations for surgical and other in-hospital complications were low.