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Healthcare Insights

Top 10 bariatric surgery procedures ranked by procedure volume

According to the CDC, obesity is one of the most common diseases in the U.S. In fact, from 2017 to 2020, nearly 42% of adults over age 18 in the U.S. were considered obese. Furthermore, the WHO recognizes obesity as one of the most important public health problems currently facing the world.  

Obesity can lead to several life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  

For some patients, diet and exercise may not be a viable solution if they have hormonal imbalances or certain chronic conditions. The solution to these individuals’ health challenges may be bariatric surgery.  

Bariatric surgery procedures may make the stomach smaller and also bypass a portion of the intestine. These procedures can result in less food intake and change how the body absorbs food for energy, resulting in decreased hunger and increased fullness. These procedures may improve the body’s ability to achieve a healthy weight. 

Below, we’ve ranked the top bariatric surgery procedures by volume, as tracked using our ClaimsMx product.  

The 10 bariatric surgery procedures ranked by volume

RankDrug name# of prescriptions% of total prescriptionsExplore dataset
5Carbidopa and levodopa703,1913.10%Explore
6Donepezil Hydrochloride497,2422.20%Explore
7Divalproex Sodium471,6732.10%Explore
8Amitriptyline hydrochloride 463,9402.10%Explore
10Propranolol Hydrochloride383,1671.70%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from the Definitive Healthcare ClaimsMx product. Data are accurate as of June 2022.  

Which bariatric procedures had the most volume? 

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, ranks at the top of our list with 23,800 procedures, which amounts to more than $152 million. The CPT code for this gastric sleeve procedure is 43775.  

Other high-volume bariatric procedures are CPT codes 43281 and 43280. These codes refer to two very similar procedures regarding the repair of the junction between the esophagus and the stomach after a hernia sac is removed. The difference between the codes is that in a 43281 the hernia sac is removed and then the area is repaired, likely by a mesh reinforcement. In a 43280, the hernia is only repaired via sutures. CPT 43281 has 13,875 procedures and more than $138 million in charges. CPT 43280 has 3,172 procedures and more than $30 million in charges.  

CPT code 43999 refers to a stomach surgical procedure that is new, unusual, or otherwise does not have an assigned code. It has 2,162 total procedures and more than $5 million in charges.  

What is bariatric surgery? 

Bariatric surgery refers to a collection of surgical procedures that make changes to a patient’s digestive system. More commonly known as “weight loss surgery” these procedures are performed when a healthcare professional believes a patient is at serious risk of health problems due to their weight, or when diet and exercise haven’t worked. Bariatric surgery procedures typically treat chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.  

Gastric bypass surgery (CPT code 43644) is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery. This procedure both limits the amount of food a patient’s stomach can hold and restricts the number of calories and nutrients that can be absorbed.  

What is obesity? 

The CDC defines obesity as “a complex disease that occurs when an individual’s weight is higher than what is considered healthy for his or her height.” Obesity affects children as well as adults. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. 

Learn more  

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers.