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WMJ. 2004;103(2):32-7.

Trends in bariatric surgery for morbid obesity in Wisconsin.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin Medical School, USA.



Obesity is a national epidemic with rates in Wisconsin and the United States doubling over the past decade. Research of available treatments for morbid obesity (body mass index > or = 40 kg/m2) suggests that bariatric surgery may be the only modality that provides any significant long term weight loss.


Using the data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we analyzed self-reported information on body weight and height among adults in Wisconsin. We used the WITHIN database for inpatient hospitalization and surgeries in Wisconsin to evaluate trends in gastric bypass surgery. Finally, we surveyed bariatric surgeons in Wisconsin to assess trends in bariatric surgery in the state.


In Wisconsin, the percentage of the adults considered to be obese increased from 11% in 1990 to 22% in 2001. In 1999-2001, approximately 80,000 adults (2% of the population) were morbidly obese. The number of gastric bypass surgeries performed in Wisconsin more than doubled in 1 year, from 182 in 2001 to 426 in 2002. According to bariatric surgeons, gastric bypass accounts for approximately 90% of bariatric surgeries performed in Wisconsin. Thus, in 2002, there was roughly 1 bariatric surgery for every 200 morbidly obese Wisconsin adults. Most (84%) bariatric surgeons are planning to increase the number of procedures they perform, and 24% plan on adding an additional bariatric surgeon to their group.


Bariatric surgery rates are increasing in Wisconsin, yet the demand for surgery far exceeds current capacity of surgeons in the state.

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