Lap band surgery going wrong

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 06 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Class system ... poorer obese people are being deterred from necessary lap band surgery due to huge costs. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

LAP band surgery gone wrong is clogging public hospitals and low income obese people who need to lose weight can't get it.

More than one in five people who have lap band and other obesity surgery need revisions or reversals after problems emerge, according to a new study.

Although most people have their original surgery in a private hospital, they are turning to the free public hospital system to get problems fixed, a study published in the Australian Health Review says.

Only 10 per cent of bariatric surgery to fight obesity occurs in public hospitals because of lack of funding.

And many people are spending about $10,000 to have the surgery done privately.

It has become the most rapidly growing surgery practice in Australia as evidence emerges it can help reverse diabetes in obese patients.

Private ... Only 10 per cent of obesity surgery takes place in public hospitals. Picture: Supplied Source: News Limited



However, the high cost of the procedure means it is more likely to be accessed by the well-off even though lower income Australians are more likely to suffer from the problems of severe obesity.

In Queensland, there is an eight year waiting list for patients who have been referred for bariatric surgery in public hospitals, the Flinders University study says.

The poor access for lower income Australians is cited as evidence of the "inverse care law", where groups with the greatest healthcare need receive the lowest levels of service.

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that many of the rare bed days allocated to bariatric surgery are being used by patients having their original surgery reversed, the study says.

The study found more than 20 per cent of obesity surgery required revision within three years, "which raises issues with regards to the cost effectiveness of this form of treatment for obesity," the authors say.

The study found in South Australia over a third of the revision and reversals occurring in public hospitals are for the correction of procedures conducted privately.

Problems ... Plicate patients are having their obesity surgery reversed or repaired in public hospitals. Picture: Supplied Source: News Limited

"If access to bariatric surgery is being limited in public hospitals because of an increasing number of revisions/reversals from surgery originally undertaken in private hospitals or interstate, the socio-economic inequality in obesity is only likely to increase," the study says.

Lap band

An adjustable belt is placed around the upper portion of the stomach to reduce the size of the stomach pouch to the size of a golf ball. It that limits and controls the amount of food you can eat.

Gastric sleeve

Permanently removes part of the stomach with a stapling device reducing it to the size of a banana reducing the capacity of the stomach from 1.5 litres of food and liquid down to about 200mls.

Gastric bypass

Surgery reduces the small stomach pouch to a capacity of 30-50mls to restrict food intake, a section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, cutting the absorption of nutrients and calories.

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