The Economic Damage in Hospitals – The End of the Age of Weight Loss Surgery?

Recently, the Ministry of Health announced a 50% reduction in the rate of bariatric surgeries (surgeries for shortening the stomach), which bring in many millions to hospitals every year, just to clear the ear, “mini-sleeve” surgery, which brings in about 65,000 NIS, will be cut in half.

In my opinion, this decision should be seen in a positive light, as Israel is considered the leader in a number of these analyzes, which may cause severe disabilities, but the public is not aware of this. There are 3 types of gastric bypass surgery: ring (gastric narrowing by ring); gastric bypass in which most of the stomach is neutralized; sleeve surgery which is the most popular procedure, in which most of the stomach volume (90% of the stomach) is removed and a new sleeve is formed. The common denominator of all the above surgeries is that they are performed under general anesthesia and limit the amount of food that the stomach is able to contain, which makes the surgeon feel full.

Stomach shortening surgeries have become a fashionable “trend” in recent years, bringing huge sums to hospitals. According to the State Comptroller’s report from 2019, these surgeries are performed in 28 medical centers, government hospitals and general health services hospitals. Data from a global survey conducted in 2014 showed that Israel ranks first among OECD countries in performing gastric bypass surgery, relative to population size, and second among all countries in the world.

Diet (illustration) (Photo: Ingeimage)
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Data from the National Registrar of Bariatrics show that the number of surgeries performed in Israel (in adults aged 18 and over) has increased greatly over the years and reached its peak in 2015, about 10,000 surgeries – an increase of more than 2 times compared to 2010 (about 4,200 surgeries). The data also show that the number of repeat surgeries in Israel is the highest in the world – in 2017 their rate was about 17% (every Friday surgery) – a very high amount compared to the global average that year was only 7%.

The State Comptroller’s report found many deficiencies in the process of preparing for these surgeries, in the preoperative evaluation, in adjusting the type of surgery to the patient, in monitoring surgery and in controlling reoperation approval. However, these data are missing, as the funds do not calculate all the costs associated with the surgery, for example: the cost of the preparation sessions with the dietitian, the follow-ups performed by the professionals after the surgery, the hospitalizations due to complications and more.

The public is not aware that gastric bypass surgery is not a cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, such as breast augmentation or nose reduction. It is an invasive procedure, which can leave complications, end in severe disabilities and even death. The State Comptroller’s report emphasizes, among other things, that patients do not undergo full and proper preparation before surgery; the decision on the type of surgery is made without peer control; the procedure for selecting the type of surgery that suits the patient is deficient To the starting point and performs reoperation, which has an increased level of risk.Some surgeons who have also undergone three, four and even five surgeries, indicating a reasonable possibility that their readiness for the procedure was insufficient.

The risks involved in bariatric surgery must be brought to the public’s attention and are quite numerous. In Israel, quite a few medical malpractice lawsuits are filed after surgeries, which caused disability or death due to negligence in the surgery itself, or in the follow-up that followed. It is to be hoped that reducing the rates paid to medical institutions for these surgeries will make them less lucrative and cause only those who really need it to come up on the operating table.

Adv. Anat Ginzburg (Photo: Tomer Shalom)Adv. Anat Ginzburg (Photo: Tomer Shalom)

The author owns an office that specializes in medical malpractice and tort claims

Source: – סגנון-לייף סטייל by

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