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Weight Loss Surgeries Often Accompained by Several Complications

Weight-loss surgeries are accompanied by complications like abdominal cramping, hernia or pneumonia in 40% of patients in the six months after the procedure according// to a recent study. Researchers have proposed that such complications often run into thousands of dollars to patients' medical bills.

This study was conducted by government economists and it is considered to be the first in-depth look at the medical costs that have been incurred in the six months after bariatric surgeries. The results of the research have been published in August's Medical Care.

Weight loss surgeries like gastric bypass are used to create a smaller stomach. It is performed on very obese people, about 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight laparoscopically or in open surgery. The average cost is $25,000.

On examining the insurance claims from 2,522 people who had weight-loss surgeries, most of which were gastric bypass done with the open surgery the researchers revealed the following findings. Almost 22% of the patients reported a complication during their initial hospital stay.

An overall 18% of the patients had to return to the hospital within six months because of complications. The researchers found that the patients were either seen as an outpatient, readmitted or treated in the emergency room.

Complications such as leakage problems were reported at the site of the connection between the stomach and the intestine.

Medical bills for those with complications ran into an average of $36,500, compared with around $25,000 for those with no complications.

Those re-admitted to the hospital were found to have Medical bills averaging about $65,000.

Medical coverage for gastric bypass or gastric banding varied widely among different insurance companies. Medicare covers both surgeries under certain conditions.

According to lead author William Encinosa, a senior economist with the Agency for health car
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