A cost-benefit analysis of bariatric surgery on the South Plains region of Texas

Bradley T. Ewing, Mark A. Thompson, Mitchell S. Wachtel, Eldo E. Frezza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The regional economic burdens of obesity have not been fully quantified. This study incorporated bariatric surgery demographics collected from a large university hospital with regional economic and employment data to evaluate the cost of obesity for the South Plains region of Texas. Data were collected from patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic banding between September 2003 and September 2005 at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. A regional economic model estimated the economic impact of lost productivity due to obesity. Comparisons of lost work days in the year before and after surgery were used to estimate the potential benefit of bariatric surgery to the South Plains economy. Total output impacts of obesity, over $364 million, were 3.3% of total personal income; total labor income impacts neared $60 million: the losses corresponded to $2,389 lost output and $390 lost labor income per household. Obesity cost the South Plains over 1,977 jobs and decreased indirect business tax revenues by over $13 million. The net benefit of bariatric surgery was estimated at $9.9 billion for a discount rate of 3%, $5.0 billion for a discount rate of 5%, and $1.3 billion for a discount rate of 10%. Potential benefits to the South Plains economy of performing bariatric surgery more than outweigh its costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-649
Number of pages6
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Economic impact
  • Economic loss
  • Lost productivity
  • Obesity
  • Regional economy


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