Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who have obesity. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).
Long-term studies show the procedures cause significant long-term loss of weight, recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and a reduction in mortality of 23% from 40%.
However, a study in Veterans Affairs (VA) patients has found no survival benefit associated with bariatric surgery among older, severely obese people when compared with usual care, at least out to seven years.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, and for people with BMI 35 and serious coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes.
However, research is emerging that suggests bariatric surgery could be appropriate for those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with no comorbidities or a BMI of 30 to 35 with significant comorbidities. The most recent ASMBS guidelines suggest the position statement on consensus for BMI as indication for bariatric surgery. The recent guidelines suggest that any patient with a BMI of more than 30 with comorbidities is a candidate for bariatric surgery.