Cleveland Clinic Names Bariatric Surgery Top Medical Innovation of 2013

by Guest Blogger, Jason Knapfel who manages web content for WeightWise Bariatric Program, based in Edmond, OK.

The Cleveland Clinic has just released its top 10 medical innovations for 2013 and bariatric surgery for diabetes control is at the top of the list. Though weight loss surgery is not a recent medical innovation, the added benefit of controlling diabetes is a relatively new discovery.

The impact weight loss surgery can have on healthcare in 2013 and beyond is significant, not the least of which is affecting positive change in the diabetes epidemic. This will be aided by the fact that both public and private insurance programs are covering weight loss surgery, in part because of its proven effectiveness in controlling type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

"Bariatric surgery has been around for a while. The reason it was chosen as the top innovation is because Medicare has broadened its indication for payment, and Medicaid in many states follows Medicare,” says Dr. Michael Roizen, the Cleveland Clinic's Chief Wellness Officer. “A lot of the other (private) insurance companies started covering it, so it's much more accessible."

November is American Diabetes MonthNovember is American Diabetes Month

The Cleveland Clinic announcement conveniently coincides with American Diabetes Month, the annual campaign by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) that raises awareness of the disease.

Diabetes is one of the biggest health threats facing Americans today. Here are some staggering statistics to consider:

- Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that number has tripled over the last 30 years.

- An additional 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

- The ADA estimates the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $174 billion.

What the Cleveland Clinic has done with their announcement is to highlight an important, but sadly overlooked, benefit of weight loss surgery. It’s not just a matter of losing weight and making patients feel better about themselves (both perfectly great benefits!), but bariatric surgery can be an important tool in preventative care and saving significant healthcare dollars over the long haul.

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