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BACKGROUND: There is a growing interest in comparing the effectiveness and costs of alternative forms of bariatric surgery. We aimed to examine the per-patient, procedural costs of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), sleeve gastrectomy (SG) and adjustable gastric banding (AGB) in the United Kingdom. METHODS: Multi-centre (two National Health Service; NHS and one private hospital) micro-costing, using a time-and-motion study. Prospective collection of surgery times, staff quantities, equipment, instruments and consumables for 12 patients (four RYGB, five SG, three AGB) from patients' first surgeon interaction on the day of surgery to departure from the theatre recovery area. Costs were attached to quantities and mean costs compared. Sensitivity and scenario analyses assessed the impact of varying surgery inputs and consideration of additional plausible factors respectively on total costs. RESULTS: Mean procedural costs were £5002 for RYGB, £4306 for SG and £2527 for AGB. Varying staff seniority or altering procedure times had small impacts on costs (± 4-6%). Reducing prices of consumables by 20% reduced costs by 10-13%. Accounting for differences in surgical technique by altering the number of staple reloads used impacted costs by ± 7-10%. Adjusted total costs from scenario analyses were similar to NHS tariffs for RYGB and SG (difference of £51 and -£119 respectively) but were much lower for AGB (difference of £1982). CONCLUSIONS: These detailed costs will allow for more precise reimbursement of bariatric surgery and support comprehensive assessments of cost-effectiveness. Additional work to investigate costs of post-surgical care, re-operations and life-long support received by patients following surgery is required.

Original publication





Obes Surg

Publication Date





474 - 484


Bariatric surgery, Bottom-up costing, Cost analysis, Costs, Economics, Micro-costing, Reimbursement, Tariffs, Time-in-motion study