Studies show that while the popularity of weight-loss surgery has grown, so have the instances of patients that do not go through with the surgery. These seem to be primarily substance users and men as found by research. Researchers have determined that those patients that are over the age of 60, smokers, drinkers, drug users or men tend to leave the program before the surgery occurs.
In studies by University of Toronto in Ontario, patients weight for nearly 15 months before having the surgery. Prior to the surgery date, some patients, primarily those that are male and/or are substance users, drop out of the running for the weight loss. The significant wait time to have the surgery could be one of the biggest reasons that these patients drop-out. Those with substance abuse problems may not have the support systems in place that are necessary to keep them attentive to the goal of weight loss and to the long wait time in order to ramp up to the surgery.
Research shows that more than a third of the adults in the United States are obese. Obesity related illness treatment and medical care costs approximately $147 billion annually. Weight-loss surgery has shown to relieve many comorbidities related to obesity, reducing the cost associated with obesity related illness and improving the overall health of the individual patients. Determining the cause for weight loss surgery drop-outs is an important part of reducing these numbers. A study looked at 1,664 patients from 2008 to 2011, 74 percent of which were women. These patients had an average age of 48 years and a body mass index (BMI) of higher than 40.
Out of the patients in the study 95% of those that were men and 95% of those that abused substances, removed themselves from the programs. This meant that these individuals didn’t get to the surgery and left the program before receiving the help that they needed. It also seemed true that patients that did not live close to the center did not follow through with the surgery. Those patients with a BMI of larger than 40> and that lived close to the center were more apt to go through the surgery.
Professionals such as Dr. Erik Dutson, a bariatric surgeon from the University of California, believe that there is great value in reducing the drop-out rate in the United States as well as Canada. This might require creating special care systems for individuals with special needs to help them get to through the process from beginning to end. Perhaps those that do not have support groups will need to be introduced to others that can help such as social workers from the beginning of the process.
Individuals that have no social support during the process prior to the actual surgery appear to be at greater risk of dropping out of the program before they can take part in the actual surgery. Providing these patients with the help that they need from the beginning can prevent them from falling through the cracks and failing to get the surgery that they could benefit from.