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Bariatric Surgery Statistics & Facts [Updated 2021]

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data in 2016, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults are obese (“Adult Obesity Facts | Overweight & Obesity | CDC,” 2016).

The WHO data showed that about 13% of the entire world populations were obese as at 2014. The prevalence of obesity has been rising due to the interaction between our genetic make-up and environment. The environmental factors are majorly our dietary habit and sedentary lifestyle. Increased industrialization and digitization has led to machines replacing humans in most energy-demanding activities.

Morbid obesity (BMI>40) in most cases do not respond significantly to dietary modification, and most other obese individuals desire a significant reduction in weight and resolution of associated comorbid conditions. Thus, bariatric (weight loss) surgery is being used as solutions for these set of people.

As the prevalence of obesity is rising, there is also a proportionate increase in the number of people undergoing weight loss surgeries. Therefore it is not a surprise that the weight loss industry is fast-growing by the day.

The data revealed that between 2013 and 2016, the average body mass index (BMI) of patients who had bariatric surgeries was 49.1 kg/m2 with a mean weight of 136.4 kg, which is double the ideal weight for height.

Approximately 76% of these patients were females, and most patients have an average of 3-4 obesity-associated comorbid conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, apnea, arthritis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyslipidemia, etc. the average length of hospital stay after the surgery was 2-3 days with a survival rate of 99.95%.

According to an estimate published by Northwestern Medicine researchers at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions, a vast majority of American adults will be obese or overweight, while more than half will suffer from diabetes or other co-morbidities. The rate of obesity and overweight continues to grow at an alarming rate, with experts believing that obesity projections globally are worse than terrorism threats in the future. 

To help address the challenges of obesity and its associated health risks, bariatric surgery is considered one of the most effective ways to achieve sustainable results. Owing to the amazing weight loss results that bariatric surgery delivers; its popularity has been rising at a rapid pace. According to a study, the global popularity of bariatrics as a weight-loss treatment procedure is projected to grow at a rate of 10% year-over-year.

Rising Prevalence of Gastric Sleeve

The data published by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery in July 2016, the total number of bariatric surgery done in the US in the year 2011 was 158,000 with the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) forming the most commonly performed bariatric surgery (36.7%). Gastric band and gastric sleeve came second and third respectively (34.5% and 17.8%). Only 6% of these patients had revision surgery done.

[dt_list style=”1″ bullet_position=”middle” dividers=”true”][dt_list_item image=””]Average Bariatric Surgeries Performed Yearly: 196,000[/dt_list_item][/dt_list]

Due to a rising prevalence of obesity, the figure rose to 196,000 in 2015, with gastric sleeve surgery being the most commonly performed bariatric surgery in that year (51.7%). Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) and the gastric band were second and third respectively (23.1% and 5.7%). The percentage of those who had revision surgeries in the year 2015, however, rose to more than double the value for 2011(13.6% vs. 6%).

In terms of Excess Weight Loss (EWL) among the 3 most common bariatric surgeries, the United Kingdom National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR) report showed that those who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass operation had the greatest degree of EWL (55-70%). This was followed by patients who had gastric sleeve surgery (55-60%) and the least was recorded after gastric banding (45-55%). This excess weight loss was found to be sustained for up 2years of follow up.

In each type of the 3 bariatric surgeries above, the excess weight loss in men were less than those of women. No clear explanation for this observation, however, it may be due to interaction between many factors. It was also observed that patients with a BMI 50 kg m2. It is therefore important to offer bariatric surgery to the obese individual before the BMI gets to 50kgm2 in other to achieve optimal excess weight loss.

The analysis of a study done by the ASMBS which involved about 60,000 patients who had bariatric surgeries, showed that the overall average risk of dying as a consequence of bariatric surgery was 0.13%

The analysis of a study done by the ASMBS which involved about 60,000 patients who had bariatric surgeries, showed that the overall average risk of dying as a consequence of bariatric surgery was 0.13% (approximately 1 out of every 1,000 patients who undergo bariatric surgery will die). This, when compared with the risk of death from other surgeries, is significantly low. Also associated comorbid conditions such as hypertension and its likely complications and diabetes mellitus cause more deaths than bariatric surgery. Thus, bariatric surgery, by causing resolution/improvement in the comorbid conditions will reduce the overall risk of dying from obesity.

Percentage of Bariatric Procedures Performed: Quick Statistics  

In the U.S. itself, an estimated 278,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the year 2019, and this is expected to rise to an average of 297,000 in 2020.

Interestingly, over 6,000 to 8,500 bariatric surgeries were performed in Mexico itself in 2019. And this number clearly indicates that Mexico is one of the top destinations for high-quality and affordable bariatric surgery. The primary reason why Mexico is a popular choice for bariatrics is its remarkably low cost of surgery. Additionally, they have some of the best institutions and bariatric surgeons who are globally acclaimed for their quality of service and amazing weight loss results.   

Of all types of bariatric surgeries, gastric sleeve is the most widely performed surgery. According to Infographic Bee, gastric sleeve represents almost 65% of all bariatric surgeries performed worldwide. On the other hand, 17% of all patients who are not happy with their bariatric surgery results undergo revisional surgeries. 

Another study was conducted to evaluate the long-term results of the lap-band bariatric procedure in 3227 patients, most in their 40’s. The average BMI during the study was 43%. Between 1994-2011, these 3227 individuals were treated with a laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and were followed for a minimum of 10 years. Most of these patients demonstrated a 41% weight loss at 15 years and 62% at 16 years. 

The below chart by ASMBS represents an estimate of bariatric surgery numbers from 2011-2018:

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018*
Total 1,58,000 1,73,000 1,79,000 1,93,000 1,96,000 2,16,000 2,28,000 2,52,000
Sleeve 17.80% 33.00% 42.10% 51.70% 53.60% 58.10% 59.40% 61.40%
RYGB 36.70% 37.50% 34.20% 26.80% 23.00% 18.70% 17.80% 17.00%
Band 35.40% 20.20% 14.00% 9.50% 5.70% 3.40% 2.70% 1.10%
BPD-DS 0.90% 1.00% 1.00% 0.40% 0.60% 0.60% 0.70% 0.80%
Revision 6.00% 6.00% 6.00% 11.50% 13.60% 14.00% 14.10% 15.40%
Other 3.20% 2.30% 2.70% 0.10% 3.20% 2.60% 2.50% 2.30%
Balloons 0.30% 2.60% 2.80% 2.00%

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery – Important Facts to Know 

Are you struggling hard to lose weight? Have you tried every weight loss measure but with no results? Bariatric surgery performed by a certified surgeon may help achieve your weight loss goals. During the surgery, changes are made to the digestive system or the stomach is made smaller so that you eat and drink less, or feel fuller sooner. With proper diet and weight loss maintenance, bariatric surgery has been proven to deliver effective results. 

And if you are apprehensive about getting a bariatric surgery done, it is important to note that the success rate of bariatrics is 85% after 5 years. The risk of death is also negligible, less than 13%. Bariatric surgery not only contributes to significant weight loss but also results in improved quality of life with the mortality rate being reduced by 85%.   

Effectiveness and Safety of Bariatric Surgery in Mexico 

As published in Science Direct, “bariatric surgery is the best method for treating obesity and its comorbidities.” To validate this, they performed a comprehensive analysis of the post-surgery outcomes in patients who underwent bariatrics at a high-volume hospital in Mexico. A total of 500 patients were studied where the mean BMI was 44.1 kg/m2 and patient age was 38 years. They also had comorbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia. 

During the study, sleeve gastrectomy surgery was performed in 13% of the patients, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery was done in 85.8% of the patients, while revisional surgery was performed in 1% of the patients. The following were the results from the study: 

  • 9.8% of the patients had early complications while only 12.2% had late difficulties. No deaths were reported during this study at a bariatric surgery hospital in Mexico 
  • Laparoscopic gastric bypass was seen to deliver the greatest weight loss results in the patients at 12 months 
  • The percentage of total weight loss to excess weight loss at 12 and 24 months was 76.9% and 77.6% respectively 
  • An estimated 11.4% of the patients reported a failure in weight loss post-surgery 
  • In the patients having Type 2 diabetes, 21.8% reported improvements while 68.7% presented complete disease remission. 9.3% of the diabetic patients reported partial remission 

Based on the study, experts at Science Direct suggest that bariatric surgery in a high-volume hospital center in Mexico is effective and safe. The conclusion is drawn based on the lower incidents of adverse effects, Type 2 diabetes control, and consequent weight loss results. However, to determine the final efficacy of bariatric procedures, it is important to perform long-term studies with a larger research population.

Bariatric Surgeries Statistics in the United Kingdom

According to the United Kingdom National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR) report, about NHS patients that had bariatric surgery, published in February 2017, a total of 5,192 primary operations were done while about 336 revision surgeries were also performed in 2012/2013 financial year. These figures reduced to 5,056 and rose to 648 respectively in 2015/2016 fiscal year.

Cost of Surgery 

Wondering what is the cost of bariatric surgery. These statistics will help you make an informed decision: 

  • The average cost of bariatric surgery without insurance coverage is $20,000
  • With insurance coverage, the average cost of bariatric surgery is $7,000
  • In Mexico, the average cost of bariatric surgery is $4,500, which is considered significantly lower than anywhere in the U.S. 

However, a striking fact is that almost 25% of the patients are denied insurance coverage 3 times before getting approved for bariatric surgery. This is one of the primary reasons why most people consider undergoing a bariatric procedure in Mexico. The cost of bariatric surgery is most competitive in Mexico and the hospital centers also accept most insurance plans. So, you can be assured of a seamless experience with amazing weight loss results.   


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