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This month’s Bariatric Risk Tip is provided by Alan Wittgrove, MD, FASMBS.

"Data from the CDC ( shows the incidence of diabetes in the United States to be increasing. This is both percentage of the population and number. Currently there are nearly 24 million individuals who suffer with diabetes in the US alone, with nearly 2 million new cases each year!"

"I state all this because diabetes is one of the most significant and expensive health risks worldwide. Those of us who operate in the bariatric field can be proud of the fact that the surgeries we perform are the “most effective treatment for type II diabetes.” This fact, and the data culled from our operations to treat this metabolic syndrome, has led many of us to emphasize our work as “metabolic surgeons.” When we talk about improving our patients’ health, before entering into a discussion about weight, we emphasize our strengths and avoid the biases of “weight loss surgery.”

"I see the current trends of surgery dealing with health issues and combating metabolic syndrome. Both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are “metabolic” operations, though one may argue about their relative strengths." — Alan Wittgrove, MD, FASMBS

As the prevalence of obesity and type II diabetes continue to rise, bariatric surgery will continue to be a reasonable option for some individuals. While elective in nature, it may not be elective for some. However, it remains important that your practice is solid with regard to risk management strategies and that it has enough of a place in your programmatic structure to ensure the highest likelihood of initial and long-term weight loss success.

If you have questions or would like to discuss how PhysicianProtect®|Bariatric and our partner OmniSure Consulting can work with you, please don’t hesitate to contact Amanda Budak, RN, CBN, PhD at 512-645-8891 or by email at

Dr. Alan Wittgrove has partnered with PhysicianProtect®|Bariatric to serve as its clinical expert in the field of bariatric surgery and provides oversight to this specialty-specific medical malpractice insurance program.

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