Weight Loss Surgery Trends 2016

weight loss surgery trends 2016

I have recently analyzed my 2016 weight loss surgery patient data. In this post I will discuss patient demographics and trends. To read about my 2016 gastric sleeve patient outcomes, click here.

Of note, I am a private practice weight loss surgeon located in Orange County, California, so my data and the weight loss surgery trends I have observed might not be comparable to surgeons in other geographic locations and practice situations.

Weight Loss Surgery Demographics 2016

See my 2016 weight loss surgery patient demographics in the table below:

 20162011-2015
Female74%
Male26%
Age (avg)42 years
Age (range)18-70 years
BMI (avg)42
BMI (range)31-60
Sleeve Gastrectomy83%41%
Revision of LAP-BAND® to Sleeve or Bypass16%7%
Gastric Bypass3%15%
LAP-BAND®0%38%

See payer details for my 2016 patients in the table below:

 20162011-2015
Private Pay46%33%
PPO45%48%

Gender distribution, average age, age range, average BMI, and BMI range for my 2016 patients are all fairly consistent with the numbers from previous years. Females typically comprise 2/3 to 3/4 of patients, age spans a wide range (16-70 generally) but the average is typically 42-45, and average BMI typically is in the low 40’s but also spans a wide range (30-70 generally).

Weight Loss Surgery Trends 2016

What is most interesting in the tables above are the increase in gastric sleeve surgeries and revisions in 2016, and the increase in private pay patients in 2016.

The gastric sleeve operation has been growing in popularity for several years, but 2016 proved to be the year during which the gastric sleeve has almost completely taken over. During 2016 I did only 3% gastric bypass operations, and no LAP-BAND® operations.

I generally favor the gastric sleeve operation (less risk, fewer long-term complications, more normal experience of eating), but I found that even when I favored the gastric bypass operation (e.g. patients with diabetes, patient with severe/chronic gerd), patients still tended to choose the gastric sleeve because of the benefits above.

LAP-BAND® revision operations to either gastric sleeve or gastric bypass also increased in frequency last year. Because the main issue with the LAP-BAND® operation is an increase in complications as time goes on, I anticipate the number of revision operations to increase over the next several years.

Finally, I have noticed a significant change in the payer mix over the past year. Insurance companies have made getting an approval for weight loss surgery more difficult, and therefore, more patients are electing to not use insurance and pay for surgery themselves.

The percentage of private pay patients in my practice has been relatively constant at 30-35% over the 5 years from 2011-2015, but has increased by almost 40% to 46% of overall patients in 2016. This correlates with what I noticed to be much more stringent requirements for insurance authorizations in 2016.

I anticipate that the percentage of private pay patients will remain similarly high over the next several years as insurance companies continue to try to limit access to weight loss surgery.

To conclude, my data shows that the weight loss surgery trends of 2016 were the continued increase in popularity of the gastric sleeve operation over the alternative operations, and the increase in private pay patients due to increased insurance barriers to getting insurance authorization for weight loss surgery.

To read about my 2016 gastric sleeve patient outcomes, click here.

To read more about my Orange County weight loss surgery program, visit www.OliakCenter.com.

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