A recent study finds that the current standards put forth by insurance companies for weight-loss surgery coverage need an upgrade.
Policies require patients to make medically-documented weight-loss attempts prior to pursuing bariatric surgery or have a BMI over 50. A study led by Oliver Varban, M.D.—published by JAMA Surgery—found that having these qualifiers in place keeps patients from reaching full obesity remission—reaching a BMI below 30.
Dr. Varban recommends changes to current policy. “The idea here is… to promote earlier referral and less restriction among patients with lower BMIs,” he states. “A simple analogy to this is removing a tumor when it is small and manageable instead of waiting to operate when it has become metastatic.”
The current study found only 36% of patients achieved obesity remission, reaching 30 BMI kg/m2 and below. Research found that patients with a BMI of 40 or below are more likely to achieve a BMI below 30 after bariatric surgery.
Patients who reached BMIs below 30 rated their decision to pursue bariatric surgery highly satisfying.
Waiting for bariatric surgery until your BMI is at 50 or above can result in substandard results.
“Patients and referring physicians should consider bariatric surgery as a primary therapy for obesity rather than the last resort,” says Dr. Varban.
Bariatric surgery is not only for improving appearance. Weight loss improves quality of life. Patients reported after bariatric surgery symptoms of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, diabetes, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol diminished and they stopped needing the subsequent medications.
“Despite its proven safety and efficacy, bariatric surgery remains highly regulated and can be misunderstood by referring physicians and patients alike,” Dr. Varban says.
At University Bariatrics, we understand that bariatric surgery is life changing. For better health and a brighter outlook, patients should consider bariatric surgery.
Our bariatric options include the sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, revisional surgery, and gastric balloons to help you start your weight-loss journey.
We support Dr. Varban as he implores the medical community to broaden their views on bariatric surgery. He says:
“Our research suggests that waiting until a patient’s BMI is extremely high (above 50) can hamper the benefits of undergoing bariatric surgery because these patients will have a lower likelihood of achieving the type of weight loss that leads to a healthy BMI (below 30).”
With weight gain, there is a plethora of comorbidities that negatively affect health. Why are we forcing patients to wait until they are sick before we treat them?
It is time to change the way we look at treating obesity.
University Bariatrics wants to help our patients take their first steps to healthy living.
At University Bariatrics, we want to help improve your health to protect your future by starting treatment early to counter the negative effects of obesity. Our bariatric options include the sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, revisional surgery, and gastric balloons to help you start your weight-loss journey.
Visit https://www.universitybariatrics.com/ to discover more about your weight-loss options and what we offer for post-surgery support!