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Comparison of 4-year health care expenditures associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass vs sleeve gastrectomy

Tarride J, Doumouras AG, Hong D, Paterson JM, Tibebu S, Nguyen F, Perez R, Taylor VH, Xie F, Boudreau V, Pullenayegum E, Urbach DR, Anvari M. JAMA Netw Open. 2021; 4(9):e2122079. Epub 2021 Sep 1. DOI:

Importance — Data on the long-term health care expenditures associated with bariatric surgery consisting of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and sleeve gastrectomy are lacking.

Objective — To compare 4-year health care expenditures after RYGB vs sleeve gastrectomy, identify factors independently associated with 4-year health care expenditures, and compare the procedures in terms of subsequent hospitalizations, bariatric procedures, and all-cause mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants — In this propensity score-matched cohort study, all residents of Ontario, Canada, who underwent publicly funded surgery with RYGB (n = 6301) or sleeve gastrectomy (n = 926) from March 1, 2010, to March 31, 2015, and consented to participate in the Ontario Bariatric Registry were eligible for the study. Follow-up was completed on March 31, 2019, and data were analyzed from May 5, 2020, to May 20, 2021.

Interventions — RYGB and sleeve gastrectomy.

Main Outcomes and Measures — Publicly funded health care expenditures, subsequent hospitalizations, bariatric procedures, and mortality during the 4 years after RYGB or sleeve gastrectomy.

Results — The 1:1 matched study cohorts consisted of 1624 patients (812 per cohort) with a mean (SD) age of 48.0 (10.6) years, and 1242 women (76.5%). The mean body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in square meters) was 51.9 (8.3) for the RYGB cohort and 51.9 (8.9) for the sleeve gastrectomy cohort. The 4-year cumulative costs were not statistically significantly different between RYGB and sleeve gastrectomy (mean [SD], $33 682 [$31 169] vs $33 948 [$32 633], respectively; P = .86). Having a history of coronary artery disease was associated with a 35% increase in overall health care expenditures; chronic kidney disease, a 54% increase; and mental health admissions, a 67% increase. There were no statistically significant differences in all-cause mortality between RYGB and sleeve gastrectomy (1.5% vs 2.2%, respectively; P = .26) or the total number of hospitalizations (754 vs 669, respectively; P = .11) during the 4-year follow-up period. However, nonelective hospitalizations occurred more frequently with RYGB vs sleeve gastrectomy (472 vs 339, respectively; P = .002). Roux-en-Y gastric bypass was associated with relatively fewer subsequent bariatric procedures during the 4-year follow-up period (9 vs 40, respectively; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance — In this Canadian population-based study, key results indicated that 4-year health care expenditures, all-cause mortality, and number of hospital admissions associated with RYGB did not significantly differ from those for sleeve gastrectomy. The rate of subsequent bariatric surgery was lower with RYGB. This study identified important patient-level drivers of health care expenditures that need to be further investigated.

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