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Gastric Banding Pays For Itself In Two To Four Years

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 6:57am

PRNewswire -- Allergan, Inc. today announced a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases that found the cost of a gastric banding weight-loss surgery procedure could be offset by reductions in obesity-related medical costs within 2.25 years for surgery eligible patients with diabetes, and within four years of the procedure for all surgery eligible patients.

The study evaluated healthcare claims data from 7,310 patients who had undergone gastric banding compared to claims from a matched control group of 7,306 surgery eligible obese individuals who did not have weight-loss surgery. The study found that while post-surgery medical costs for the gastric banding group declined slightly, medical costs for the control group continued to rise, thus resulting in significant savings for the banding sample. These findings underscore the critical effect gastric banding has on containing healthcare costs among the target population.

"Although the gastric banding procedure is associated with upfront costs, our analysis shows that those costs are recovered in a relatively short period of time, particularly for obese patients with diabetes," said study lead author Eric A. Finkelstein, Ph.D., of Duke University and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. "Although the potential for cost-savings should not drive coverage decisions, some insurance providers are hesitant to cover the costs of bariatric procedures for fear they will break the bank. These results may allay some of those concerns," Finkelstein said.

Currently, one in three American adults is obese. Due to increased medical expenditures, absenteeism, and presenteeism (reduced on the job productivity due to health reasons), obesity now costs U.S. businesses roughly $70 billion per year. The total medical bill for the nation as a result of obesity is now projected at $147 billion per year, or nearly 10 percent of all medical expenses in the United States. This figure is projected to reach 16-18 percent of all U.S. healthcare costs in the next 20 years.

Allergen is the maker of the LAP-BAND System.

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