Cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery and non-surgical weight management programmes for adults with severe obesity: a decision analysis model

Dwayne Boyers* (Corresponding Author), Lise Retat, Elisabet Jacobsen, Alison Avenell, Paul Aveyard, Emily Corbould, Abbygail Jaccard, David Cooper, Clare Robertson, Magaly Acevez-Martins, Benshuai Xu, Zoe Skea, Marijn de Bruin, REBALANCE team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: To determine the most cost-effective weight management programmes (WMPs) for adults, in England with severe obesity (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2), who are more at risk of obesity related diseases.

METHODS: An economic evaluation of five different WMPs: 1) low intensity (WMP1); 2) very low calorie diets (VLCD) added to WMP1; 3) moderate intensity (WMP2); 4) high intensity (Look AHEAD); and 5) Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, all compared to a baseline scenario representing no WMP. We also compare a VLCD added to WMP1 vs. WMP1 alone. A microsimulation decision analysis model was used to extrapolate the impact of changes in BMI, obtained from a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of WMPs and bariatric surgery, on long-term risks of obesity related disease, costs, quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) measured as incremental cost per QALY gained over a 30-year time horizon from a UK National Health Service (NHS) perspective. Sensitivity analyses explored the impact of long-term weight regain assumptions on results.

RESULTS: RYGB was the most costly intervention but also generated the lowest incidence of obesity related disease and hence the highest QALY gains. Base case ICERs for WMP1, a VLCD added to WMP1, WMP2, Look AHEAD, and RYGB compared to no WMP were £557, £6628, £1540, £23,725 and £10,126 per QALY gained respectively. Adding a VLCD to WMP1 generated an ICER of over £121,000 per QALY compared to WMP1 alone. Sensitivity analysis found that all ICERs were sensitive to the modelled base case, five year post intervention cessation, weight regain assumption.

CONCLUSIONS: RYGB surgery was the most effective and cost-effective use of scarce NHS funding resources. However, where fixed healthcare budgets or patient preferences exclude surgery as an option, a standard 12 week behavioural WMP (WMP1) was the next most cost-effective intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2179-2190
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number10
Early online date4 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021


  • Health policy
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Weight management


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery and non-surgical weight management programmes for adults with severe obesity: a decision analysis model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this