The number of Pennsylvanians receiving gastric bypass surgery for the treatment of severe obesity has increased dramatically since 1999, according to figures released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). In 2003, 6,791 gastric bypass surgeries were performed in the state, up ten-fold from 1999, when only 674 were performed."Complications of gastric bypass surgery can be serious and can lead to additional hospital stays," commented Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "In the two years following the 2,684 gastric bypass surgeries that were performed in the year 2001, there were 1,050 readmissions for conditions that may have been related to the initial procedure. The hospital charges for these readmissions totaled more than $22.6 million."The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has just released a new Research Brief on the topic of Obesity-Related Surgery in Pennsylvania. The Brief can be found on the PHC4 Web site at http://www.phc4.org under Agency Spotlight. Obesity may be the result of several factors including genetic predisposition, but necessarily the outcome of learned behaviors that relate to improper nutrition and lack of physical exercise. You may wonder if there are safer ways to prevent overeating than reducing the size of the stomach.