With bariatric surgery now insurable, the market just exploded!

THE HANS INDIA |   Sep 23,2016 , 06:13 PM IST

Observing that bariatric surgery performed to save a life doesn't come under the category of cosmetic surgeries, the Central Consumer Disputed Redressal Forum directed ICICI Lombard  General Insurance Company to pay a customer Rs 5 lakh spent on surgery for his wife who was diagnosed as morbidly obese.

The husband produced a certificate from the doctor who performed the surgery. The doctor opined that the woman was suffering from a life-threatening situation. 

This sets a massive precedence in bariatric surgery.

Dr.Ramen Goel, world's leading bariatric surgeon, and Director, Center of  Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery, Wockhardt Hospitals  shares, “ this directive brings us to a whole new point in the bariatric surgery discussion.Gone are the days when bariatric surgery was considered just another synonym for cosmetic surgery. Bariatric surgery when done on obese patients, is a life saving procedure. It has found to be beneficial in obesity-related problems such as diabetes, PCOD, heart disease and  and sleep apnea.”

Here is Dr.Goel's research on diabetes remission published  in the Springer


International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries

So how big is the bariatric surgery market?

According to a 2015 Lancet study, China, India and USA are among the top three countries with a high number of diabetic population. 

The numbers climbed from11.9 million in 1980 to 64.5 million in India in 2014.

The prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled for men in India and (3.7 per cent to 9.1 per cent in India).

It has also increased by 80 per cent among women in India (4.6 per cent to 8.3 per cent).

At 64.5 million diabetics, and each surgery likely to cost upwards of 2 lac, bariatric surgery just became a 200 crore market on the lower side.

It could possibly be more, as we are only calculating the diabetic population. Obesity has several associated problems such as Cardiovascular, Endocrine, Gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary, Genitourinary, Musculoskeletal,  Obstetric and gynecologic and Pulmonary; and many of these are relieved, once the obesity goes away.

Santosh Gupta, a 67 year old patient of Dr.Ramen Goel from Malad, who got relief from her diabetes, in Mumbai, says, “ I wanted to do bariatric surgery, not just to lose weight but to avoid knee replacement and diabetes medication.”

Bariatric surgery is here to stay; with both lean and obese diabetics dialling the number of a bariatric surgeon, for remission.