SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.29 issue11Association of lipophilic opioids and hyperbaric bupivacaine in spinal anesthesia for elective cesarean section. Randomized controlled studyUltrasound treatment for accelerating fracture healing of the distal radius. A control study author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Acta Cirurgica Brasileira

On-line version ISSN 1678-2674

Acta Cir. Bras. vol.29 no.11 São Paulo Nov. 2014 

Original Articles

Bariatric surgery. Analysis of hospital admissions for obesity in the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS) in Sao Paulo1

Maria Salete MiottI 

Marcia Kiyomi KoikeII 

IFellow Master degree, Postgraduate Program in Health Science, Sao Paulo State Public Server Hospital (IAMSPE), Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil. Acquisition and interpretation of data, manuscript writing

IIPhD, Associate Professor, Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, IAMSPE, Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil. Statistical analysis, manuscript writing, critical revision



To characterize the comorbidities associated with hospitalizations for obesity and the relationship of these co-morbidities with bariatric surgery and hospitalization costs during the period between 2000 and 2010 in Sao Paulo that were financed by the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS).


We used data from the Hospital Information System of the Unified Health System (SIH-SUS) for selected individuals hospitalized for obesity according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD10).


The total cost of hospitalizations was approximately two million dollars, with 67% of the total cost for bariatric and reconstructive surgery. Women accounted for 87% of hospitalizations, and 77% of subjects were aged between 30 and 59 years; the main comorbidity found was hypertension, and the procedures performed were bariatric surgery and reconstructive surgery (post-bariatric surgery).


Obesity is a major public health problem that affects people of productive age, causing high costs of hospitalization, which reinforces the requirement for preventive interventions beginning from childhood.

Key words: Bariatric Surgery; Obesity; Hospitalization; Health Care Costs


Human developmental changes have led to a modern life reflected in demographic, nutritional and epidemiologic changes1. These changes result in a higher prevalence of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cancer2. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that chronic noncommunicable diseases are responsible for 59% of deaths and 46% of total morbidity, reducing the years of healthy life3.

Obesity is a common risk factor for chronic diseases and is defined by excessive accumulation of corporal fat. WHO data have revealed an increasing proportion of overweight and obese adults worldwide, creating an alarming growth rate. Obesity is considered a public health problem, causing a reduction in longevity and life quality; the increased obesity prevalence is due to two environmental factors, independent of social level and age: high-energy diets and sedentarism4 - 5.

In Brazil, approximately 600 thousand people represent 0.64% of morbid obese patients. There will be an estimated 100% prevalence within the next 10 years, reducing the life expectancy by five to 20 years and becoming the great health public issue6 - 7.

Bariatric surgery has been a treatment achieving adequate and sustained loss of weight, with cure or improvement of comorbidities. Bariatric surgery is indicated in cases where conservative treatments for significant and sustained reduction of body weight have been unsuccessful8.

Surgery as a treatment for severe obesity has been employed for nearly 50 years. The initial technique was abandoned in 1970 for causing absorption syndrome. Thereafter, surgical methods (such as the Fobi-Capella technique) that limit the intake of foods have been appplied11. In Brazil, bariatric surgery is a relatively recent procedure, financed by the National Health System called Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) of the Ministry of Health and regulated by #252GM/MS of March 19999 - 11. Individuals with BMI≥50 kg/m2; or BMI≥40 kg/m2 with or without comorbidities unsuccessfully in clinical treatment for at least two years; or BMI>35 kg/m2 with co-morbidities and without successful clinical treatment for at least two years are indicated for surgical treatment of obesity by SUS11.

The cost/benefit ratio has been questioned by the health insurance industry. Frieda et al. 8 showed the savings in health care costs after bariatric surgery, mainly due to increased work productivity and reduced absenteeism.

The metropolitan region of São Paulo is one of five of the world's largest urban agglomerations with over 20 million inhabitants in 2007, of which 55.4% are owned by the city of São Paulo, representing more than 11 million inhabitants12. São Paulo has a highlighted economic and cultural expression. However, Sao Paulo exhibits many contrasts, especially in education and public health. Studies evaluating bariatric surgery and hospital admissions for obesity have been restricted to a few health centers16 and do not reflect public health events in Sao Paulo City.

The data generated from the Ministry of Health's information systems have been used in many studies and recommended to evaluate epidemiology in Brazil, to develop health indicators and to conduct surveys for monitoring risk factors13.

The planning process of public health has become an important aspect of a developing country due to the potential impact of obesity on quality of life, health, and economics. The present study aimed to assess the costs and to characterize the comorbidities associated with hospitalizations for obesity that were financed by the SUS and the relationship of these comorbidities with bariatric surgery over the past ten years (2000-2010), in Sao Paulo City, financed by the SUS.


This study had a retrospective and descriptive nature and was based on review of data sources from the Hospital Information System of DataSUS ( and sources of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Information about individuals admitted with obesity as the underlying cause was selected according to the 10th Review of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in Sao Paulo, with the following ICDs:

E660 (obesity due to excess calories)

E661 (drug-induced obesity)

E662 (extreme obesity with alveolar hypoventilation)

E668 (another obesity)

E669 (unspecified obesity)

Analysis of data recording the gender, age, presence of comorbidities (hypertension and diabetes), length of the hospital stay, procedures performed during hospitalization and costs.

In Sao Paulo, 5.840.420 hospitalizations were recorded from 2000 to 2010. Other causes of hospitalization or uncompleted fill data were excluded.

Hospitalization for obesity was analyzed according to established criteria, and 4.988 cases were analyzed.

Statistical analysis

The sample size (n) was calculated using the following formula:

Where the estimated variability (S2) was based on the study of the Ministry of Health13, considering a 95% confidence level and an allowable estimated error of 5% of the difference. Thus, the minimum sample size was 4.738 individuals.

Data are presented as percentages or means±standard deviations. The statistical analysis was performed with SigmaStat software, version 3.1. The chi-square (χ2) test and Student's t-test were used to compare the parameters as the number of cases for qualitative variables and values for quantitative variables, respectively. The level of significance considered was 5% (p<0.05).


Table 1 presents 4.988 cases of admission by obesity characteristics; 87% were women, and approximately 77% of the subjects were aged between 30 and 59 years (46±10 years).

Table 1 Data from the Hospitalar information system-SIH/DataSUS, showing the characteristics of individuals admitted for surgery related to obesity. Sao Paulo City, between 2000 and 2010. 

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total
Men 16% 21% 11% 15% 15% 14% 13% 16% 07% 11% 12% 13%
Women 84% 79% 89% 85% 85% 86% 87% 84% 93% 89% 88% 87%
Age (years) 38±11 40±9 37±12 47±11 40±11 42±12 40±12 49±15 42±12 43±11 39±9 46±10
Age range
18-29 years 59 42 64 91 106 74 126 74 86 80 96 898
30-39 years 98 73 123 159 159 153 190 101 183 169 164 1572
40-49 years 82 71 119 122 121 136 141 101 163 143 135 1334
50-59 years 42 28 49 71 101 85 112 98 129 102 115 932
60-69 years 5 4 13 14 14 26 18 20 23 24 18 179
70-9 years 0 4 2 9 13 12 9 3 14 3 2 71
≥80 years 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
Normotensive 278 205 355 454 501 472 572 375 577 495 507 4791
8 17 15 12 13 15 25 22 21 26 23 197
286 222 370 466 514 487 597 397 598 521 530 4988

Data are presented as the percentage or as the mean±SD.

For age, 18% (898) were between 18-29 years, 32% (1.572) were between 30 and 39 years, 27% (1.334) were between 40 and 49 years, 19% (932) were between 50 and 59 years, and only 5% were over 60 years.

The comorbidity analysis revealed hypertension (63%) as the main disease associated with obesity, followed by cholecystitis (14%), lipodystrophy (5%), and diabetes.

Table 2 shows that the number of hospitalization days for the hypertensive patients was higher than for the normotensive individuals (9±7.9 days vs 5±7.5 days, respectively).

Table 2 Data from the Hospitalar information system-SIH/DataSUS, showing the characteristics of obesity surgery. Sao Paulo City, between 2000 and 2010 

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total/média
Normotensive days in the hospital 5±4.6 6±9.9 6±8.9 5±7.1 5±5.9 6±11.3 5±8.4 6±7.7 5±5.5 4±4.4 4±6.4 5±7.5
Hypertensive days in the hospital 7±2.5
Bariatric surgery
Repair surgery 10.5% 0% 35.6% 2.8% 28.9% 34.9% 34.0% 12.0% 30.9% 56.0% 19.4% 26.56%
Other admissions related to obesity 25.5% 31% 17.4% 87.2% 17.8% 16.5% 13.5% 71.4% 42.4% 11.2% 73.5% 37.02%
Total admissions for obesity 286 222 370 466 514 487 597 397 598 521 530 4.988

Data are presented as the percentage or as the mean±SD

*, p<0.05 vs normotensive - Student's t-test.

Of the total admissions, 36% (1.817) were for performing bariatric surgeries, 27% (1325) were for performing reconstructive surgery after bariatric surgery, and 37% (1.846) were for other obesity-related reasons.

Table 3 presents the hospital admissions costs due to obesity from 2000 to 2010. R$ 4 million Real was spent on these admissions, increasing by over 300% between 2000 and 2010. The total cost of bariatric surgeries was R$ 2.3 million and that of reconstructive surgeries was R$ 400.000, totaling 67% of the total cost of hospitalizations for obesity.

Table 3 Data from the Hospitalar information system-SIH/DataSUS, showing the costs of hospital admission for obesity. Sao Paulo City, between 2000 and 2010. 

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total
Bariatric surgery R$232 R$130 R$145 R$39 R$256 R$301 R$418 R$88 R$345 R$369 R$82 R$2,405
Repair Surgery
R$13 - R$19 R$6 R$30 R$43 R$21 R$35 R$80 R$126 R$45 R$418
Other procedures R$33 R$33 R$17 R$209 R$5 R$16 R$7 R$130 R$119 R$173 R$654 R$1.396
(Thousand Real)
R$278 R$163 R$181 R$254 R$291 R$360 R$446 R$253 R$544 R$668 R$781 R$4.219

Data are shown in thousand Real (R$). US$1 = R$2.23 (01/06/2014).


This study described hospital admissions related to obesity only that were registered in the Unified Health System (SUS) in Sao Paulo. The data were collected in the SIH/DataSUS, and they represent official data that are open to public investigation (preserving the identity of the individuals) and have a broad population coverage and low cost. This study revealed that, among admissions for obesity over the last 10 years in the city of Sao Paulo, 63% of admissions resulted in bariatric surgical procedures and reconstructive surgeries after bariatric surgery, such as abdominal dermolipectomy and lower limb, brachial, crural, mammoplasty, and sequential corrective plastic surgeries.

The total number of bariatric and reconstructive surgeries accounted for 67% of the costs of all hospitalizations for obesity, totaling R$4.2 million, which is approximately 4% of what the SUS spends on the clinical treatment of obesity in Brazil14.

The quantity of bariatric surgeries financed by SUS in Brazil between 2001 and 2008 increased by 540%, mainly in Sao Paulo State. This study demonstrated a 2-fold increase in the hospitalization days for obese hypertensive patients compared with normotensive patients. Another study indicated that obese hypertensive patients have a 12 times greater risk of complications compared with normotensive patients, as well as an increased number of hospitalization days15 - 16.

Comorbid hypertension exhibited the highest prevalence in this study, followed by cholecystitis, lipodystrophy and diabetes mellitus, in descending order. The predominance of hypertension as a comorbidity was reported previously by Costa5 and is believed to be up to 6 times more frequent in obese subjects than in lean subjects17. The arterial blood pressure tends to increase with the duration of obesity1. In 2012, about a quarter of the Brazilian population (24%) had hypertension, compared with 23% in 2006, and the disease is more common in women than in men 17; in 2008, the obese hypertensive population in São Paulo was estimated to constitute 29% of the total population18.

In this study, individuals admitted to the hospital due to obesity surgery represented at least 1% of total hospital admissions between 2000 and 2010 that were supported by the SUS. We observed a crescent number of admissions over the years, twice more in 2000 than 2010.

Women represented 87% of hospital admissions for obesity, as was observed in other studies. Women have more time available for health care treatments5 in primary health care settings compared with men12. Commonly, women seek beauty and well-being, and weight reduction and plastic surgery are strongly related to aesthetic aspects7. However, in Sao Paulo, there is no difference in the prevalence of obesity between genders18.

The age range prevalence between 30 and 59 years was pronounced in both sexes, and it was observed previously by the Sao Paulo Municipal Secretariat of Health, confirming the higher prevalence of obesity in this age group (30%)18.

Brazil follows the global trends in growth of the obese population. Over the last 34 years, the prevalence of obesity increased, reaching 12% of men and 17% of women18. A nutritional survey applied to Sao Paulo city residents in 2008 revealed that 32% of the population is between 20 and 59 years of age, representing over 800,000 persons18. In the United States, one of the main countries affected by obesity, two-thirds of the American population is overweight or obese. If the growing trend of obesity is not reversed, the 16.2 million obese individuals in 2005 will increase to 48.3 million obese individuals in 205018.

Obesity remains a major public health problem in adults of working age in the city of Sao Paulo, who spend millions of dollars in hospitals because of obesity, especially for performing bariatric surgeries and post-bariatric surgery reconstructive surgeries. With the prospect of increased numbers of individuals who are obese bariatric surgery candidates, it is important to reflect on the impact of costs on public health services, which reinforces the requirement for educational interventions to change lifestyles in children, adolescents and young adults to achieve effective prevention of obesity.


Although our study is descriptive, it provides an insight into the growth of admissions for obesity and the number of bariatric surgeries performed in Sao Paulo over the last 10 years. Hypertension management is important for reducing the high public health costs associated with obesity.


1. Ferreira JS, Aydos RD. Prevalência de hipertensão arterial em crianças e adolescentes obesos. Ciênc. Saúde Coletiva. 2010;15(1):97-104. doi: 10.1590/S1413-81232010000100015 [ Links ]

2. Monteiro CA, Conde WL. A Tendência Secular da Obesidade Segundo Estratos Sociais: Nordeste e Sudeste do Brasil, 1975-1989-1997. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab. 1999; 43(3):186-94. doi: 10.1590/S0004-27301999000300004. [ Links ]

3. World Health Organization. Diet, nutrition and prevention of chronic diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003. doi: 10.1590/S0102-311X2007000900014. [ Links ]

4. Monteiro CA, Conde WL, Popkin BM. Independent Effects of Income and Education on the Risk of Obesity in the Brazilian Adult Population. J Nutr. 2001;131(3):881S-6S. [ Links ]

5. Costa ACC, Ivo ML, Cantero WB, Tognini JRF. Obesidade em pacientes candidatos a cirurgia bariátrica. Acta Paul Enferm. 2009;22(1):55-9. doi: 10.1590/S0103-21002009000100009. [ Links ]

6. Prevedello CF, Colpo E, Mayer ET, Copetti H. Análise do impacto da cirurgia bariátrica em uma população do centro do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul utilizando o método Baros. Arq Gastroenterol. 2009;46(3):199-203. doi: 10.1590/S0004-28032009000300011. [ Links ]

7. Salgado Júnior W, Pitanga KC, Santos JS, Sankarankutty AK, Silva Junior OC, Ceneviva R. Costs of bariatric surgery in a teaching hospital and the financing provided by the Public Unified Health System. Acta Cir Bras. 2010;25(2):201-5. doi: 10.1590/S0102-86502010000200014. [ Links ]

8. Frieda M, Hainerb V, Basdevantc A, Buchwaldd H, Deitele M, Finerf N, Horber F, Mathus-Vliegen E, Scopinaro N, Steffen R, Tsigos C, Weiner R, Widhalm K. Interdisciplinary European Guidelines on Sugery of Severe Obesity. Obes Facts. 2008;1:52-9. doi: 10.1159/000113937. [ Links ]

9. Cruz MRR, Morimoto IMI. Intervenção nutricional no tratamento cirúrgico da obesidade mórbida: resultados de um protocolo diferenciado. Rev Nutr. 2004;17(2):263-72. doi:10.1590/S1415-52732004000200013. [ Links ]

10. Gigante DP, Moura EC, Sardinha LMV. Prevalência de excesso de peso e obesidade e fatores associados. Brasil. 2006. Rev Saúde Pública. 2009;43(2):83-9. doi: 10.1590/S0034-89102009000900011. [ Links ]

11. Ministério da Saúde. Portaria nº 424 de 19 de março de 2013. Disponível em: [acesso 2013 dez] [ Links ]

12. Instituto Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Estatística (IBGE). População da região metropolitana de São Paulo. Disponível em:ística/população [acesso 2013 set] [ Links ]

13. Ministério da Saúde. Vigilância de Fatores de Risco e Proteção para Doenças Crônicas por Inquérito Telefônico. VIGITEL 2012. Disponível em: [acesso 2013 jan] [ Links ]

14. Ministério da Saúde. Sistema Nacional de Auditoria. Notícias 19/03/2013: Doenças ligadas à obesidade custam R$ 488 milhões. Disponível em: [acesso 2013 dez] [ Links ]

15. Ministério da Saúde. Sistema Nacional de Auditoria. Notícias 12/03/2009: Total de cirurgias de redução de estômago sobe 542%. Disponível em: [acesso 2012 ago] [ Links ]

16. Kelles SMB, Barreto SM, Guerra HL. Costs and usage of healthcare services before and after open bariatric surgery. São Paulo Med J. 2011;129(5):291-9. doi: 10.1590/S1516-31802011000500003. [ Links ]

17. Poirier P, Cornier MA, Mazzonen T, Stiles S, Cummings S, Klein S, McCullough PA, Fielding CR, Franklin BA. Bariatric surgery and cardiovascular risk factors a Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123:1683-701. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e3182149099. [ Links ]

18. Secretaria Municipal da Saúde de São Paulo. Boletins ISA - Capital 2008, Estado Nutricional. Coordenação de Epidemiologia e Informação |CEInfo|SMS|PMSP. Boletim nº 2. Setembro 2010. Disponível em: [acesso 2013 mar] [ Links ]

19. Branco Filho AJ, Menacho AM, Nassif LS, Hirata LM, Gobbi RIS, Perfete C, Siqueira DED. Gastroplastia como tratamento do Diabete Melito tipo 2. ABCD. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2011;24(4):285-9. doi: 10.1590/S0102-67202011000400008. [ Links ]

20. Instituto Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Estatística (IBGE). Pesquisa de Orçamentos Familiares 2008-2009. Disponível em: [acesso 2011 ago] [ Links ]

Financial source: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Academic Staff (CAPES)

1 Research performed at Laboratory of Research and Development Center (CEDEP), Sao Paulo State Public Server Hospital (IAMSPE), Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil. Part of Master degree thesis, Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, IAMSPE. Tutor: Prof. Dr. Marcia Kiyomi Koike.

Received: June 18, 2014; Revised: August 20, 2014; Accepted: September 22, 2014

Correspondence: Marcia Kiyomi Koike Instituto de Assistência Médica ao Servidor Público Estadual Departamento de Pós Graduação em Ciências da Saúde Avenida Ibirapuera, 981/2º andar 04029-000 São Paulo - SP Brasil Tel.: (55 11) 99964-8421

Conflict of interest: none

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.