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Dr. David Kim Kim Bariatric Institute

Are More People Choosing Bariatric Surgery?

photo257As discussed in our previous blog post, the American Medical Association’s decision to classify obesity as a disease is the first step toward necessary new legislation to increase access to proper health care through insurance coverage. The question on our minds at DFW Bariatric Institute is when will this happen? If 1/3 of our population had some other illness, such as diabetes or cancer, the whole medical industry would be in a craze trying to solve the epidemic. However, obesity – also a serious and life-threatening disease – is being written off and minimized.

At first, we thought obesity’s classification as a disease might lower the barriers of prejudice (and improve access to treatment), but that isn’t the case. If someone has a bad back, he or she is allowed to have spine surgery as many times as deemed necessary, but the same insurance company may not allow that person to have a single operation to address the obesity that causes back pain and spinal complications. For the last 5-6 years, it has been well documented that each year bariatric surgeons perform 250,000 operations for weight loss surgery in our country every year, including adjustable gastric banding and gastric sleeve procedures.

However, if our country is becoming progressively more obese, then why are we still performing the same number of procedures year after year? I know from speaking with other bariatric surgeons, that we are actually seeing fewer patients than in the past. This unfortunate fact suggests that even though obesity is now officially considered a disease, the barriers have not been decreased. Obesity’s prevalence continues – and will continue – to grow until there is some legislative change.

For more information on surgical weight loss treatments, please contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons.

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