To compare acute care utilization and costs following sleeve gastrectomy (SG) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYBG).
Comparing post-bariatric emergency department (ED) and inpatient care use patterns could assist with procedure choice and provide insights about complication risk.
We used a national insurance claims database to identify adults undergoing SG and RYBG between 2008 and 2016. Patients were matched on age, gender, calendar-time, diabetes, and baseline acute care use. We used adjusted Cox proportional hazards to compare acute care utilization and two-part logistic regression models to compare annual associated costs (odds of any cost, and odds of high costs, defined as ≥80th percentile), between SG and RYGB, overall and within several clinical categories.
The matched cohort included 4263 SG and 4520 RYBG patients. Up to 4 years after surgery, SG patients had slightly lower risk of ED visits (aHR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.85,0.96) and inpatient stays (aHR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.73,0.88), especially for events associated with digestive-system diagnoses (ED aHR: 0.68; 95% CI:0.62,0.75; inpatient aHR: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.53,0.72). SG patients also had lower odds of high ED and high total acute costs (e.g., year-1 acute costs aOR 0.77; 95% CI: 0.66,0.90) in early follow-up. However, observed cost differences decreased by years 3 and 4 (e.g., year-4 acute care costs aOR 1.10; 95% CI: 0.92,1.31).
SG may have fewer complications requiring emergency care and hospitalization, especially as related to digestive system disease. However, any acute care cost advantages of SG may wane over time.

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