Weight Loss Surgery Wait Times Rise Dramatically

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People who are eligible for weight loss surgery are waiting longer and longer for the potentially life-saving procedures to help them safely lose weight, say researchers at Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They conducted a study involved data on 60,791 people from the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative who had bariatric surgery in Michigan between 2006 to 2016. In 2006, the average wait time for surgery after the first visit was 86 days, but by 2016, it had climbed to 159 days.

To determine the effects of these increased wait times, the researchers created two study groups: one with an average wait time of 67 days, and one who waited at least 204 days for weight loss surgery. After one year, they determined that people in the shorter wait time group had lost an average of 58.9 pounds, while those in the other group lost 56.6, on average.

Factors that affected wait times included complex medical histories, current smoking status, high cholesterol, and psychological problems. According to the Michigan researchers, one possible reason for the delay is that many insurance companies, including Medicaid, require documented, supervised weight loss attempts before bariatric surgery despite the fact that there’s reliable no evidence proving pre-operative weight loss improves long-term success.

Sourced from: Annals of Surgery