When it comes to reoperative bariatric surgery, there has been a long-standing concern that the procedure is hazardous for patients. Studies now show that reoperative bariatric surgery does not increase the morbidity or the mortality rates for patients as was initially suspected. In fact, the differences between the first surgery and the reoperative bariatric surgery with relation to risk barely exist. Dr. Ranjan Sudan, a digestive disorders specialist and vice chair of education for Duke University’s department of surgery, believes this new information should be brought to the attention of those that have a stake in the situation.
These findings are important because they may change the way that insurance companies handle coverage of reoperative bariatric surgery. Typically the operation is not accepted and covered due to the proposed risk factors involved. The data collected could change this line of thinking and make a reoperative surgery for those that need to give it another try, more accessible. It will also substantially improve how surgeons feel about performing the surgery. Until now, the reoperative bariatric surgery was primarily only considered if the individual had a complete fail of the first surgery. This information could change this line of thinking.
Over 450,000 surgeries were entered into the database. These included 1,000 surgeons doing the work and 700 hospitals hosting. The researchers used the information to compare the rates of serious incidences that occurred over a 30 day period. These included leaks, pulmonary embolism or bleeding and were to compare from the first surgery to the reoperative surgery. The results of the findings showed that 1.61 percent of the first procedure had these incidents while the reoperative surgery followed by a slim 1.66 percent of the complications. The difference is barely noticeable between the two surgeries.
The mortality rates for individuals from the first surgery where compared to the second surgery patients as well. This rate was 0.1 percent during surgery and 0.17 percent following one year after surgery during the initial operation. During the second surgery, the rates were .014 percent during surgery and 0.26 percent one year later. These are also small numbers comparatively and show that there is little more risk involved in the second surgery than in the first. These figures are low and do not warrant any thoughts that an additional surgery poses any more threat than the first.
With the information that has been retrieved from the research, it is evident to see that the second surgery is barely more risky than a first surgery. This could change the thinking for many of the insurance companies and the overall approach to the medical community and patients toward a preoperative bariatric surgery as optional. This change could mean that more individuals can access the second surgery for improved results over the first bariatric surgery that they might have had. The benefits of the second surgery are not conclusive, but with the stigma of being a bad risk removed, it is open to more individuals and allows for more research to answer these questions.