Interventional gastroenterology

Publicly funded bariatric surgery a success

Wednesday, 4 Nov 2015

A  high-volume publicly funded bariatric service in Australia is a viable model for morbidly obese people who are unable to afford the procedure in the private system, GI surgeons say.

They were reporting the results from a six year follow-up of a publicly funded bariatric service at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

The prospective study of almost 1500 patients with an average BMI of 50 who underwent bariatric surgery at the centre found that the average weight loss was 30kg after six years.

Excellent outcomes were also observed across other domains such as cholesterol levels, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea, HbA1c, and mental health, reported the research group led by Professor Peter Nottle, director of upper GI surgery at the Alfred Hospital.

Eighty-two per cent of the patients in the study said they would definitely or probably have the surgery again if given the choice.

Concerns over providing a follow-up service and patient compliance were unfounded, the researchers said, with high retention in the follow-up system up to 6 years.

“Our data show that bariatric surgery can be safely and effectively implemented under standard surgical service lines in the Australian public healthcare system,” the researcher said.

Excellent outcomes were achieved across a range of key quality domains. A continued focus on quality and meticulous measurement of outcomes needs to be maintained.

“Given the overwhelming benefits demonstrated, it would seem logical to expand the availability of public bariatric surgical services,” they concluded.


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