The objective of this study was to evaluate the current utilization, the level of endorsement by professional societies, and health technology assessment bodies, as well as the reimbursement levels for bariatric surgery in European countries.
Materials and Methods
We performed an analysis of the indications for bariatric surgery based on national clinical and commissioning guidelines, current utilization of surgery, characteristics of patients who underwent surgery, and reimbursement tariffs in Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. Data were obtained from national patient registries, administrative databases, and published literature for the year 2012.
Despite clear consensus outlined in clinical guidelines, significant differences were found in the eligibility criteria for surgery. Patients with no significant comorbidities were deemed eligible if they had a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or 50 kg/m2 in Denmark. Irrespective of the country, patients with comorbidities were eligible if they had a BMI of 35 kg/m2. The highest utilization of bariatric surgery (number of surgeries per 1 M population) was observed in Belgium (928), Sweden (761), and France (571) while Italy (128), England (117), and Germany (72) had the lowest utilization. There was a strong negative correlation between utilization and average BMI level of the patient population (r = −.909, p = 0.005). The annual per capita spending on surgery differed significantly between countries, ranging from €0.54 in Germany to €4.33 in Belgium.
There are significant variations in the clinical indications, utilization, and funding of bariatric surgery in European countries.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11695-014-1537-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.