Budget impact analysis of surgical treatment for obesity in sweden.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The recent substantial increase in the number of obese surgeries performed in Sweden has raised concerns about the budget impact.

Objective: Our aim in this paper is to present an assessment of the budgetary impact of different policies for surgical intervention for obese and overweight subjects from a healthcare perspective in Sweden.

Methods: The model simulates the annual expected treatment costs of obesity related diseases and surgery in patients of different sex, age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Costs evaluated are costs of surgery plus the excess treatment costs that an obese patient has over and above the treatment costs of a normal-weight patient. The diagnoses that are included for costs assessment are diabetes and cardiovascular disease since these diagnoses are the principal diagnoses associated with obesity. Four different scenarios over the number of surgical operations performed each year are simulated and compared: (1) no surgical operation, (2) 3 000 surgical operations in persons with BMI > 40, (3) 4 000 (BMI > 40), and (4) 5 000 (expanded to BMI > 38).

Results: Comparing Scenario 2 with Scenario 1 results in a net budget impact of on average SEK 121 million per annum or SEK 40 000 per patient. This implies that 55 percent of the cost of surgery, set equal to SEK 90 000 for each patient, has been offset by a reduction in the excess treatment costs of obesity related diseases. Expanding annual surgery from 3000 to 4000 the cost-offset increased to 58%. By expanding annual surgery further from 4000 to 5000 and at the same time expanding the indication for surgery from BMI > 40 to BMI > 38, no cost-offset is obtained.

Conclusion: A cost-minimization strategy for bariatric surgery in Sweden should not expand indication, but rather increase the number of surgeries within the currently accepted indication.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-197
JournalScandinavian Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch