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Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:00 AM

Radiocast: Bariatric Surgery

Debra: This is Healthcare 411. When diet and exercise fail, more and more Americans are turning to surgery to tackle obesity. But is it right for you? More on this next.


[Begin PSA: Having Surgery - What You Need to Know]

Voice 1: Why do I need the operation?

Voice 2: Are there alternatives to surgery?

Voice 3: And what are the risks involved?

Narrator: Every year, more than 15 million Americans have surgery. If you’re considering surgery, you need to make an informed decision. Ask your doctor to answer questions and explain alternatives clearly. To learn more read the booklet Having Surgery: What You Need To Know found at www.ahrq.gov/consumer. A message from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[End PSA]


Debra: This is Healthcare 411.

Steiner: Obesity surgery is helping thousands of Americans who have not succeeded at losing weight to reduce their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Debra: Dr. Claudia Steiner, AHRQ senior research physician, says just like with other surgeries, bariatric surgery is not without risks or complications. But, she says patients and doctors should evaluate the risks together and doctors need to follow patients carefully after the surgery. About 60 million adults in the United States are obese, and 11 million are morbidly obese. More than 80-percent of all bariatric surgeries are performed on women.

Dr. Steiner: These studies should encourage potential new patients to explore their options, and if they decide on surgery they should learn what they can do to reduce their risk of complications.

Debra: Because the surgery is safer and the death rate has declined in recent years, the surgery rate is on the rise. Bariatric surgery for patients between 55 and 64 increased nearly 2,000 percent over 6 years, with doctors performing more than 15-thousand procedures in 2004. To learn more about this and dozens of other health topics, go to healthcare411.org. I’m Debra James, Healthcare 411 is produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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