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Obesity Surgery Grows and Grows to Billion-Dollar Industry

Obesity Surgery Grows and Grows to Billion-Dollar Industry

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 12 -- Obesity surgery is a billion-dollar growth market for patients from ages 18 to 54.

Bariatric surgery procedures for patients from the ages of 55 to 64 in the United States increased by 2,000% over a seven-year period, from 772 in 1998 to 15,086 in 2004, according to a report released by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) here.

A smaller but increase in bariatric surgery also occurred among 18- to 54-year-olds over the same period, growing from 12,481 operations in 1998 to 103,097 in 2004, for a net 726% gain. This age group represented the largest segment of the obesity surgery market.

Over the same period, deaths associated with the surgery declined by 78%, from 0.9% in 1998, to 0.2% in 2004, and hospital stays declined by nearly two day in each age group.

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