Insurance-mandated preoperative diet and outcomes after bariatric surgery

Academic Article


  • Background: Despite a lack of demonstrated patient benefit, many insurance providers mandate a physician-supervised diet before financial coverage for bariatric surgery. Objectives: To compare weight loss between patients with versus without insurance mandating a preoperative diet. Setting: University hospital, United States. Methods: Retrospective study of all patients who underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy over a 5-year period, stratified based on whether an insurance-mandated physician-supervised diet was required. Weight loss outcomes at 6, 12, and 24 months postoperation were compared. Linear mixed-models and backward-stepwise selection were used. P<0.05 was considered significant. Results: Of 284 patients, 225 (79%) were required and 59 (21%) were not required to complete a preoperative diet by their insurance provider. Patients without the requirement had a shorter time to operation from initial consultation (P =.04), were older (P<.01), and were more likely to have government-sponsored insurance (P<.01). There was no difference in preoperative weight or body mass index or co-morbidities. In unadjusted models, percent excess weight loss was superior in the group without an insurance-mandated diet at 12 (P =.050) and 24 (P =.045) months. In adjusted analyses, this group also had greater percent excess weight loss at 6 (P<.001), 12 (P<.001), and 24 (P<.001) months; percent total weight loss at 24 months (P =.004); and change in body mass index at 6 (P =.032) and 24 (P =.007) months. There was no difference in length of stay or complication rates. Conclusions: Insurance-mandated preoperative diets delay treatment and may lead to inferior weight loss.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Keith CJ; Goss LE; Blackledge CD; Stahl RD; Grams J
  • Start Page

  • 631
  • End Page

  • 636
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 5