Bariatric surgery works for diabetes - so why aren't more people doing it?

According to the American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery, about the same amount of people had bariatric surgery in 2012 as they did 10 years ago - a statistic that has many medical professionals worried.

As obesity rates continue to rise, insurance companies must deny many people coverage for the procedure, which has been shown to dramatically help reduce diabetes rates, as guidelines set forth about its risks haven't been updated in 20 years.

Things aren't expected to get any better under the Affordable Care Act, either, as only 24 states are required to cover weight-loss surgeries. Currently, two-thirds of company-sponsored health insurance plans don't cover the surgery, which runs about $15,000 to $25,000.

Safety guidelines need updating

New guidelines set forth by The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Obesity Society last year urged doctors to recommend the procedure to their patients. Yet, despite the fact that bariatric surgery can help patients lose about 30 percent of excess weight, guidelines about the actual procedure's safety and efficacy are grossly out of date.

"The safety level of bariatric surgery has also shown dramatic improvement since doctors began using the procedure when the initial guidelines for bariatric surgery were set by the National Institute of Health in 1991," writes Tracy Rose from Liberty Voice. "At that time, the death rate for the procedure was one out of 100. Today, that number has decreased to one out of every 1,000 surgeries."

Surgery is an underused solution

Many medical experts are saying that there is a strong need to update these guidelines and make clear that the procedure is much more safe than it used to be.

Both doctors and patients, however, may still be resistant to the procedure due to a social stigma about treating weight loss with surgery. Combined with insurance hurdles, this makes bariatric surgery possibly one of the most underused solutions for treating obesity and diabetes.

"If we were talking about breast cancer, no one would be content with having only one percent of that population treated," Dr. John Morton, professor of surgery at Stanford University, told ABC News. "Yet if you look at the impact of obesity on life expectancy, it's by far one of the most dangerous conditions we have in public health."

Source: ABC News, Liberty Voice
Image courtesy of arztsamui/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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