The number of people in Australia resorting to weight loss surgery in order to shed extra kilograms has increased 20-fold in the past twenty years, according to a new study.
The increase is a blend of rising obesity rates and more extremely overweight people opting for the radical surgery option to lose their kilos.
In order to reach the conclusion, researchers at the University of Western Australia looked at results between 1988 to 2004 and found the rate increased from 1.2 to 24.2 procedures per 100,000 people.
Surgery patients had the same survival rates as the general population - a good sign, as obesity is known to increase death rates.
Ninety per cent of patients got lap band surgery, which involves reducing the amount of food that the stomach can hold, causing a feeling of fullness.
Study leader Fiona Smith, a PhD candidate at the university, said the technique had a better safety profile than the other most common procedure, gastric bypass.
"Within the 30-day post-operative period, mortality was low and less than 10 per cent of patients experienced complications," News.com.au quoted Smith, as writing in the Medical Journal of Australia.
"Patients who underwent the less common gastric bypass procedure were more likely to be readmitted within 30 days of their operation," she added.
The researcher also stressed the most important intervention against obesity was the work of public health professionals to stop people gaining weight in the first place.