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Obesity and bariatric surgery in Australia: future projection of supply and demand, and costs


Wanni Arachchige Dona, S and Angeles, MR and Nguyen, D and Gao, L and Hensher, M, Obesity and bariatric surgery in Australia: future projection of supply and demand, and costs, Obesity Surgery, 32, (9) pp. 3013-3022. ISSN 1708-0428 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11695-022-06188-5


Introduction:The prevalence of obesity is increasing in developed countries, including Australia. There is evidence that bariatric surgery is effective in losing weight and reducing risk of chronic diseases. However, access to bariatric surgery remains limited in the public health sector.

Method: We modelled population-based estimates of the likely numbers of people eligible for bariatric surgery in Australia using the recent Australian New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society (ANZMOSS) framework and estimated the potential costs that would be incurred from primary and subsequent reoperations in both public and private sector.

Results:The annual number of newly eligible patients is expected to rise, and hence the gap in demand is increasing relative to current baseline supply. If a 5-year program to treat all currently eligible patients was implemented, the maximum yearly demand is projected to be 341,343 primary surgeries, more than eight times the existing capacity of public and private sector, which can only offer 41,534 surgeries/year. A nine-fold increase is expected if we treat currently eligible patients over a 5-year program and all newly eligible patients as they occur each year.

Conclusions:Our results highlighted the currently highly skewed distribution of bariatric surgeries between the private and public sectors. Improving access would bring substantial benefits to many Australians, given the demonstrated cost-effectiveness and cost savings. This requires a major increase in resourcing for publicly-funded access to bariatric surgery in the first instance. A national review of priorities and resourcing for all modes of obesity treatment is required in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Obesity surgery; demand and supply
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health systems
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Treatment of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Hensher, M (Professor Martin Hensher)
ID Code:154313
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2022-11-22
Last Modified:2022-12-16

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