According to Roslin, even obese patients who do not lose weight before such surgeries "still have better results with surgery, than with any other treatment option. Since we do not ration care for any other disease, is it fair to ration for obesity? Our role should be to find the best treatment for each individual, not only offer surgery for those who do best."
A third study found that obese Medicaid patients who undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery may be more likely to return to work than similar patients who don't have the surgery.
Researchers at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, studied 38 medically disabled patients who had the surgery and 16 patients who did not.
Those who had surgery, average age 48, had an average body mass index of 58 before surgery and were followed for about 44 months. Those who did not have surgery, average age 51, had an average BMI of 54 and were followed for about 32 months.
"The patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were more likely to return to work, with 14 (37 percent) working, compared with 1 (6 percent) of the non-operative control patients," the study authors wrote. "Return to work was more likely in patients who had resolution of comorbid conditions (co-occurring illnesses) after surgery."
The patients who returned to work no longer needed Medicare funding.
While bariatric surgery has become more widely accepted, additional research is needed to prove to insurers and the public that it is the best long-term treatment for obesity, according to an editorial that said these bariatric surgery studies help improve understanding.
"The studies presented in this issue of the Archives provide us with more knowledge about these procedures' risks, outcomes, complication profiles, improved functionality associated with surgically induced weight loss, need for long-term monitoring and equivalency of the various laparoscopic b
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