How Important Is Surgeon’s Skill for Weight-Loss Surgery Outcomes?

Study saw no differences at one year after procedure, but one expert believes longer follow-up needed.

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A surgeon’s skill level does not seem to have a big impact on long-term outcomes for weight-loss surgery patients, a new study suggests.

However, one weight-loss surgeon disagreed with the study’s conclusion.

Prior research had found an association between surgical skill level and short-term outcomes after a type of weight-loss surgery called laparoscopic gastric bypass. But, the long-term impact was unknown.

The new study was led by Dr. Christopher Scally, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and included more than 3,600 patients. The patients underwent weight-loss surgery performed by one of 20 different surgeons.

Each surgeon’s individual skill level was assessed by experts who viewed videos of the surgeons as they performed weight-loss operations. Surgeons ranked in both the highest and lowest levels had been practicing an average of 11 years.

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