According to a new study published from the American College of Surgeons, there was an increased number of laparoscopic bariatric procedures, bariatric surgeons and decreased inhospital mortality rates from 2003-2008.

During the past ten years the field of bariatric surgery has changed dramatically and the authors of the study concluded that these trends are due in part to the increase use of laparoscopic techniques and a greater acceptance of bariatric surgery by patients.

In the United States over one-third or (33.8%) are obese, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Morbid obesity is when the body mass index (BMI) is over 40 or when individuals are 100 pounds or more overweight. This degree of obesity is associated with more than 30 illness and medical conditions including: Coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension and cancer. Over 15 million Americans are morbidly obese.

National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that dietary and drug treatments for morbid obesity have been proven to be ineffective. Surgical treatments; however, have shown to be effective for weight loss and reducing morbidity.

"We've identified a national trend in the use of bariatric surgery that is tied to the rapid expansion of the laparoscopic approach to bariatric surgery and the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding operation," said Ninh T. Nguyen, MD, FACS, chief surgeon for the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery with University of California, Irvine Healthcare and the study's lead author. He continued to explain that "Many reports we looked at documented the long-term survival and metabolic benefits of bariatric surgery and these benefits are having an impact on patients' willingness to accept bariatric surgery as an option for the treatment of morbid obesity."

Using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) from 2003 through 2008, the study authors found that the number of bariatric operations peaked in 2004 at 135,985 cases (63.9 procedures per 100,000 adults) and reached a plateau at 124,838 cases (54.2 procedures per 100,000 adults) in 2008. The proportion of laparoscopic bariatric operations increased from just over 20 percent in 2003 to more than 90 percent in 2008 and the in hospital mortality rate for these procedures decreased from 0.21 percent to 0.10 percent.