Healthgrades Bariatric Surgery Report 2013 Evaluates Hospitals Performing Obesity Surgery in the U.S.

Healthgrades Recognizes Top 10% of Bariatric Surgery Hospitals with the Healthgrades 2013 Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award™

Jul 16, 2013, 08:01 ET from Healthgrades

DENVER, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthgrades, the leading online resource that helps consumers search, compare and connect with physicians and hospitals, today released the Healthgrades Bariatric Surgery Report 2013: Your Choices Influence Your Outcome. The new report assesses the performance of hospitals performing obesity surgery in the U.S. and provides important information to help consumers improve the likelihood of a safe bariatric surgery experience.

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Today, more than one- third of adults in the United States are considered obese.1 A recent study forecasts that within 20 years, the number of severely obese adults will more than double.2 Most recently, in June of this year, the American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease, strengthening the discussion about obesity-related treatment options, including bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery.

The Healthgrades report, which included hospitals performing three different surgeries for obesity, looked at vertical sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and laparoscopic gastric bypass. Healthgrades identified four key issues for consumers when thinking about bariatric surgery:

  • Bariatric surgery can be safe and effective. While all three surgical options had similar complication rates, they differed in the amount of weight loss. As a result, it is important for patients to understand their options in terms of risks and benefits.
  • Respiratory issues were the most common complication. Patients should discuss these risks with their doctor and care team. Together, they should have a plan to prevent them and to deal with them if they occur.
  • Hospitals with more experience had better results. The hospitals that performed higher numbers of the procedures had significantly lower complication rates.
  • Quality matters. Hospitals rated with 5 stars by Healthgrades had 71% lower complication rates than 1-star hospitals and 46% lower rates than 3-star hospitals after adjusting for patient risk factors. Before deciding on when and where to have surgery, patients should use this data to understand hospital relative performance.

"The Healthgrades report provides a risk-adjusted assessment of in-hospital complications following bariatric surgery that will help consumers compare all hospitals analyzed that perform bariatric surgery on a level playing field," said Arshad Rahim, MD, Group Vice President, Quality Improvement and Innovation, Healthgrades.  "Patients, together with their doctors, may use the information in this report to help insure they select hospitals with favorable in-hospital outcomes to ensure the best long term result of this important health decision."

For the current report, Healthgrades analyzed clinical outcomes of 204,069 bariatric surgery discharges from 467 hospitals in 18 states (representing 55% of the U.S. population) where data are publicly available from 2009 through 2011. Healthgrades measured hospital performance based on risk-adjusted in-hospital complications—preventable problems patients had during their hospital stay.

Out of the 467 hospitals evaluated, 120 hospitals (25.7%) performed better than expected (5 stars) in bariatric surgery.  If all hospitals from 2009 through 2011 had performed at the level of hospitals with 5-stars, 6,417 patients could have potentially avoided a major in-hospital complication.

Healthgrades identified 48 of these 5-star hospitals as 2013 Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award recipients for their exceptional performance in bariatric surgery. These hospitals represent the top 10% of hospitals rated for bariatric surgery. They have the lowest bariatric surgery complication rates in the 18 states where data are publicly available.

For more information about Healthgrades, to see the complete list of hospitals recognized and related methodology, or to download a full copy of the report, please visit:

About Healthgrades
Healthgrades, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. More than 225 million visitors use the Healthgrades websites to search, compare and connect with physicians and hospitals that best meet their treatment needs.  Consumers are empowered through use of the Healthgrades proprietary information about clinical outcomes, satisfaction, safety, and health conditions to make more informed healthcare decisions and take action.  For more information please visit and

1 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity in the United States. 2009–2010. NCHS data brief, no 82.Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
2 Finkelstein EA, et al. Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecasts Through 2030. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2012; 42(6): 563-570.

SOURCE Healthgrades