The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of two malabsorptive procedures for severe obesity. Prospectively collected data from eight men and three women who underwent partial biliopancreatic bypass (PBB) and 19 men and seven women who underwent very very long limb Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (VVLGB) for superobesity (preoperative weight >225% above ideal body weight) were evaluated. Age (42 +/- 3 years and 40 +/- 2 years), body mass index (64 +/- 4 kg/m(2) and 67 +/- 3 kg/m(2)), and percentage of excess body weight (183% +/- 17% and 203% +/- 12%) were similar (mean +/- standard error of the mean). Median follow-up was 96 months (range 72 to 108 months) and 24 months (range 18 to 60 months) for the PBB and VVLGB groups, respectively. Weight loss expressed as percentage of excess body weight was 68% +/- 4% 2 years and 71% +/- 5% 4 years after PBB, and 53% +/- 7% 2 years and 57% +/- 5% 4 years after VVLGB. Current body mass indexes are 37 +/- 2 kg/m(2) and 42 +/- 2 kg/m(2) in the PBB and VVLGB groups, respectively. Hospital mortality was zero. Morbidity occurred in five patients after VVLGB (wound infection in four, wound seroma in one, and pulmonary embolus in one) and in two patients after PBB (abscess in two, anastomotic leak in one, and gastrointestinal bleeding in one). After PBB, one woman died of refractory liver failure 18 months postoperatively and two other patients developed metabolic bone disease. No such known complications have occurred to date after VVLGB. We conclude that VVLGB is safe and effective for clinically significant obesity, results in sustained weight loss, and improves quality of life.