Bariatric surgery is performed safely in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients with minimal fibrosis (stage 1-2). However, the safety and potential benefits of bariatric surgery for NAFLD with advanced fibrosis (stage 3-4) remain unclear. This study was designed to compare the safety and efficacy of bariatric surgery in patients with biopsy proven advanced fibrosis to those with minimal fibrosis.METHODS:
All patients who underwent bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2014 and had evidence of NAFLD with fibrosis score 3-4 (advanced fibrosis) based on the staging system defined by Kleiner et al. on intraoperative liver biopsy were included and compared with patients who had fibrosis score 1-2 (minimal fibrosis). The groups were compared for length of hospital stay after bariatric surgery and incidence of postoperative complications over a follow-up period of 1 year. An improvement in hepatic function tests before and 1 year after surgery was used as a parameter to evaluate for NAFLD improvement.RESULTS:
Ninety-nine patients with F3-4 (group 1) and 198 patients with F1-2 (group 2) were included. Mean age (51.9 vs 50.1 years) and body mass index (46.4 vs 46.5 kg m- 2) were similar in the two groups. Median serum aspartate aminotransferase (43 vs 30 U l- 1; normal 10-40 U l- 1) and alanine aminotransferase (40.5 vs 34 U l- 1; normal 10-50 U l- 1) were significantly higher in group 1 and improved 1 year after surgery. Median length of hospital stay after surgery was higher in group 1 than that in group 2 (4 days vs 3 days; P-value = 0.002). The proportion of patients developing postoperative complications over 1 year was similar in both groups (36.4% vs 32.8%; P-value = 0.54).CONCLUSIONS:
Advanced fibrosis does not increase the risk of developing postoperative complications in medically optimized patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Improvement in serum transaminase levels suggests a reduction in hepatic necroinflammatory activity following bariatric surgery.