Should This Patient Have Weight Loss Surgery?: Grand Rounds Discussion From Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Obesity is an important public health priority in the United States. One third of U.S. adults are obese and therefore can expect higher rates of diabetes mellitus, other obesity-related comorbidities, and mortality. In 2013, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the Obesity Society, and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery issued a guideline that recommended weight loss (bariatric) surgery for all patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or higher and for those with a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or greater in the presence of at least 1 obesity-related comorbidity. Among the 3 most commonly performed surgeries, the amount of excess weight reduction ranges from 49% for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding to 76% for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. In accredited centers, perioperative mortality averages 0.3%. In this Beyond the Guidelines, 2 experts in obesity management, a bariatric surgeon and a general internist, discuss the role of weight loss surgery versus dietary and lifestyle modification, both in general and for a specific patient who is eligible for surgery. Ethnic and age-related variability in the effects of obesity on mortality, as well as potential long-term benefits and risks of weight loss surgery for patient subgroups, are discussed.