With Obesity on the Rise, New Bariatric Study Finds Surgeons Don’t Follow the Same Best Practices, Even Within the Same Hospital

With over 100 million US adults experiencing obesity, and the condition accounting for $173 billion dollars in extra health costs annually, health tech company Theator set out to examine how bariatric surgeries are stacking up, only to find tremendous variability and disparity across the board

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Theator, a leading AI driven health-technology company, today announced the findings of its in-depth analysis on bariatric surgery. Coinciding with news of insurance companies continuing to refuse coverage of GLP-1 drugs for weight loss and obesity associated with a yearly excess of $1,861 in health costs per person, Theator set out to gather insights into how longer lasting solutions like bariatric surgeries were stacking up across the board. 

Analyzing data gathered from approximately 700 routine Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures performed by over 140 surgeons from four unique hospitals over the past few months, Theator, utilizing its AI-powered Surgical Intelligence Platform, found a sobering reality of tremendous surgical variability and disparity not only in different hospital systems, but also within the same institution. With surgeons taking widely different times to complete procedures and no uniform technique applied, Theator’s findings bring to light how even the most nuanced of approaches can have a direct correlation on surgical quality. 

“At Theator, we are focused on surfacing never-before-seen, real-world data-based findings, that generate actionable insights to positively impact patient outcomes and improve the quality of patient care,” said Dr. Tamir Wolf, Theator’s CEO and Co-Founder. “Through routine analysis of bariatric surgical procedures, our Surgical Intelligence Platform is able to provide hospital systems with a full picture into what’s happening intraoperatively, while surfacing, monitoring and standardizing surgical best practices, to help not only improve outcomes, but directly link quality of care with cost of care.”

In Theator’s analysis of Sleeve Gastrectomies, which account for more than half of the type of bariatric surgeries performed in the U.S., findings revealed that not all surgeons adopted the same safety milestones. While 82% of procedures reinforced the staple line, 18% did not; which can lead to complications. Complications for staple line leaks occur in up to 6% of patients, yet when surgeons reinforced the staple line, the risk of post-op complications is reduced by half.

Theator’s data analysis also highlighted that surgeons across systems do not follow the same protocols. While surgeons in two of the hospitals packaged the transected stomach in an endo-bag to reduce the risk of surgical site infection, another group of surgeons from a different hospital only conducted this practice in 0.4% of cases. In looking at the amount of times drains were inserted in patients, which is a practice that should only happen after a complex procedure or when there is either a high risk of post-op bleeding or a post op leak, Theator also found that surgeons were inserting drains 61% of the time.

Theator’s analysis also pointed to inefficiencies within the operating room. While many of these metrics were previously unknown, Theator revealed that on average it took surgeons 13.2 minutes to conduct the gastric transection step. However, in 18 of those procedures, it took over 30 minutes, prompting the question of why. Theator also revealed that in the longest procedures, regardless of which hospital system they were conducted in, patients experienced at least four minutes or more of out of body time. This is the time where the scope was out of the body, and literally led to blind spots during surgery, as the surgeons did not see what was happening in the cavity operated on, which then prolonged operative time and resulted in increased costs.

“Despite the popularity of GLP-1 drugs for weight loss, in the past year alone, the demand for bariatric surgery as a durable or permanent treatment of obesity continues to increase,” said Dr. Gerald Fried, President of SAGES, chair of the board of regents of the American College of Surgeons, Associate Dean, Educational Technology and Innovation at McGill University Faculty of Medicine, formerly chair of McGill Department of Surgery. “Best surgical practices impact outcomes, however, with little visibility into what’s happening in the operating room, it has been challenging for surgeons to learn from and exchange best practices with one another. As we all strive to deliver optimal care, Theator’s ability to extract useful insights are incredibly valuable for healthcare providers and for hospital systems worldwide.”

With research from the Cleveland Clinic showing that Bariatric surgeries are now helping to reduce risks of obesity-related cancers of the liver, gallbladder, colon, rectum, ovaries, uterus, pancreas and more, Theator’s data and insights are relied upon by many in the industry. From surfacing and analyzing specific data derived from surgical videos to providing the big picture, Theator’s Surgical Intelligence Platform, powered by advanced AI, delivers actionable, meaningful information directly to a doctor’s or hospital admin’s computer or mobile device when they need it the most.

The company’s proven track record in the past year of helping hospital systems increase adherence to safety milestones and cut procedural time, has helped it increase its customers by 50%, with more signing on daily. Most recently, Theator’s Surgical Intelligence Platform was recognized by Fast Company as part of their annual list of Most Innovative Companies for 2023.

For more information about Theator’s Surgical Intelligence Platform, please visit www.theator.io.

About Theator

Theator is pioneering the Surgical Intelligence revolution, harnessing advanced AI and computer vision technology to generate actionable insights which improve the quality of surgical care. By making routine video capture and analysis the standard of care in surgery, Surgical Intelligence derives unique insights aiming to help surgeons and hospital systems understand the causes of variability in patient outcomes and improve them in the future, while also lowering costs and streamlining procedures in the OR. Theator is partnering with leading surgeons, hospitals, professional societies, and research institutions to create a smarter, more transparent operating room. Based in Palo Alto, California, the company is paving the path for real-time surgical decision-support, creating a stronger, healthier world. For more information, visit https://theator.io/.

Media Contact:
Rachel Rogers


SOURCE Theator