Trends: Use and costs of bariatric surgery and prescription weight-loss medications

William E. Encinosa, Didem M. Bernard, Claudia A. Steiner, Chi Chang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The extent of use of bariatric surgery and weight-loss medications is unknown. Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, we estimate that the number of bariatric surgeries grew 400 percent between 1998 and 2002; such surgeries were performed on 0.6 percent of the 11.5 million adults clinically eligible in 2002. Hospital costs for bariatric surgery grew sixfold to $948 million in 2002. The inpatient death rate declined 64 percent. Among employers that covered weight-loss drugs in 2002, less than 2.4 percent of adults clinically eligible for these drugs used them, with average annual spending of $304 per user.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1046
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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