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Bariatric Surgeries Big Business For Small Hospitals

BOSTON (CBS) - The largest number of weight-loss surgeries in the state in 2010 were not performed at any of the large Boston hospitals — they were performed at Tobey Hospital in Wareham where they had more than 600 such surgeries.

The expansion of bariatric surgeries at community hospitals can be seen across the state.

Two years ago, almost twice as many weight-loss surgeries were performed at Lowell General Hospital, at just over 400, than at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Community hospitals see the huge demand for these types of operations and so many of them have been investing money to get their weight loss surgery businesses off the ground.

For example, last year Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge invested $1 million so they would have the services to do more of these surgeries .

We spoke to a few bariatric surgeons at some of the big Boston hospitals and they did caution that it's best to go to the safest hospital, not the cheapest one.

But the good thing is that bariatric surgery has gotten much safer.

Nationally, the number of patient deaths has dropped to .09 percent.

While these surgeries are always risky, they also help improve health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Watch Lisa's report:

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal can be seen weekdays at 6 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @lvanderpool.

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