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May 31, 2005 |

Although stories of dramatic weight-loss results associated with various surgical procedures have been widely publicized, studies indicate that patients would be wise to consider the potentially serious risks of these procedures more carefully. In 2004, 145,000 bariatric procedures were performed at an average cost of $25,000 each ($3.5 billion). Complications, however, may not only increase that cost to $100,000 but, also, leave the patient with very serious medical problems in addition to their obesity.

In the case of bariatric surgery, for example, one new study reports that almost 20% of the patients experienced complications after surgery. For approximately 5% of the patients, the complications were serious (including heart attacks, strokes, and severe high blood pressure). Another recent study reported a mortality rate (within 30 days of surgery) for gastric bypass surgery at .5% (1 in 200) which is higher than the death rate associated with coronary angioplasty..

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