"Risk of serious complications was inversely associated with average annual bariatric procedure volume," the researchers wrote in their report."Serious complication rates were about twice as high (4 percent) for low-volume surgeons at low-volume hospitals than for high-volume surgeons at high-volume hospitals (1.9 percent)," they added.
The overall rates of serious complications were similar among patients who had bariatric surgery at centers of excellence (COE) hospitals (2.7 percent) and those who had surgery at non-COE hospitals (2 percent), according to the report.
"In terms of outcome by procedure, the data presented does not show which is safer or more preferable long term. While early serious complications are less with banding, this data does not answer what the long term results are of the various procedures, or the need for other procedures," Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, commented in a news release about the new report.
"In terms of volume, once again we see the importance of frequency and repetition for the best outcomes," Roslin added.
The researchers wrote that their results might not apply outside of the state of Michigan or to surgeries performed in community settings, but said they represented "useful safety performance benchmarks for hospitals performing bariatric surgery."
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about bariatric surgery.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, July 27, 2010; Lenox Hill Hospital, news release, July 26, 2010
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