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IFSO 2012

International surgery trends: banding down, sleeves up

Henry Buchwald believes that gastric banding may "disappear altogether" as a standalone procedure.
Total number of worldwide bariatric procedures steady from four years ago
Gastric band procedures drop dramatically
Sleeve gastrectomy procedures increasing rapidly

Henry Buchwald has presented the results from an international survey of bariatric surgery trends at the IFSO annual congress in New Delhi, India, which showed that while bariatric surgery is as popular as it was four years ago, sleeve gastrectomy is replacing gastric band surgery to such an extent that the latter may soon disappear altogether as a stand-alone procedure.

Buchwald sent a survey to the president of every national bariatric society, asking them to outline how many surgeries of each type are performed in their country every year. He then compared his findings to a similar study performed in 2008.

Buchwald found that the number of bariatric operations has dropped very slightly since 2008 – from 344,221 in 2008 to around 340,000 in 2011. The three operations that were predominantly popular in 2011 were, unsurprisingly, the gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric band; almost all operations are now performed laparoscopically.

While gastric bypass had been rapidly rising in popularity up to 2008, it has plateaued since, at around 46.0% of operations.

Gastric banding had an enormous increase in popularity, but dropped rapidly since 2008, to make up 17.8% of all procedures. Buchwald saw no reason that this trend would cease, saying that it is “now more or less disappearing”.

Sleeve gastrectomy has taken the place of gastric banding as the second most popular operation, claiming much of banding’s market share to make up 27.8% of operations.

Buchwald presented two outliers in his data: firstly Brazil, which he said has had a “fantastic” rise in the number of operations and surgeons in the last four years; and secondly the USA, which has had a “fantastic” drop, with surgeons performing almost one-quarter fewer operations in 2012 compared to 2008.

However, Buchwald encouraged the audience to take the national trend figures with a grain of salt:  he believed that while the trends represented in the survey results were real, he suspected that the numbers presented may over-estimate the actual situation.

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