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Gender-related differences

Gender-related differences, complications and risks

Gender-related differences, complications and risks from surgery
The analysis reveals a gender disparity: while men comprise only 18% of bariatric surgery patients, compared to women at 82%

A new report has highlighted differences in the rates of complications between men and women having bariatric surgery. In addition, the analysis identifies the recipients of the 2015 Healthgrades Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award, representing the top 10% of hospitals evaluated performing bariatric surgery. The Healthgrades white paper, entitled “2015 Bariatric Surgery Analysis Gender-Related Differences in Obesity, Complications and Risks,” explores the rates and variations in complications and risk factors, as well as the benefits of bariatric surgeries among men and women.

The analysis reveals a gender disparity: while men comprise only 18% of bariatric surgery patients (compared to women at 82%), they are statistically more likely than women to experience a complication (4.7% complication rate in women compared to 6.7% in men). Similarly, compared to women, men have bariatric surgery at a higher obesity severity level with higher BMIs, and therefore higher risks coming into surgery. As such, men experience adverse events more often, which in turn increase their risks for surgery-related and medical complications.


Relative percentage of bariatric procedures by BMI (Copyright, Healthgrades)

For women of childbearing age (between the ages of 18 to 44) Healthgrades sought out to see if there was an impact on prior bariatric procedures of complication rates during childbirth. The analysis found that women who have had bariatric surgery do not have statistically higher vaginal delivery complication rates than non-obese patients, but they do have statistically higher caesarean delivery complication rates than non-obese patients. However, women evaluating the risks and benefits of addressing obesity using bariatric surgery should be aware that women who had bariatric surgery for weight loss are (20%) less likely to experience a complication during childbirth compared to obese patients who did not have bariatric surgery.

“The white paper findings indicate more research studies are necessary to determine if the higher rate of medical and surgical complications in men compared to women are due to higher BMIs at the time of surgery, or due to other factors,” said Evan Marks, chief strategy officer at Healthgrades. “Until then, Healthgrades encourages physicians to have an in-depth conversations with their patients about the timing of treatment as it relates to the patient’s gender and level of obesity.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2009 – 2012, 1 in 3 (35.3%) American adults were diagnosed as obese. Obesity affects men and women equally. While there is no statistically significant difference between overall rates of obesity in men and women (34.6% and 35.9% respectively), the proportion of obesity incidence across three CDC BMI grades below skews differently between men and women. While bariatric surgery can be an effective treatment for men and women alike, it is important to understand the risks and benefits, along with the performance of hospitals providing this surgery.

For the 2015 Bariatric Surgery Report, Healthgrades compared hospitals with statistically better than expected performance (5-stars), as a group, to those with statistically worse than expected performance (1-star), as a group, and found from 2011-2013, patients having a Bariatric Surgery in hospitals with 5-stars have, on average a 72.1% lower risk of experiencing a complication while in the hospital than if they were treated by hospitals with 1-star. Similarly, from 2011-2013, patients having a Bariatric Surgery in hospitals receiving 1-star are, on average 3.6 times more likely to experience one or more complications than if they were treated in hospitals with 5-stars.

“For those patients considering bariatric surgery, the Healthgrades analysis underscores the importance of accessing objective information that can help inform their decision, because there is a variation in care among hospitals that perform bariatric surgery,” he added.

To access the report, please click here

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