Background: Surgical intervention is currently indicated for patients with BMI > 40 or > 35 with life-threatening comorbidities. Patients with BMI 32-40 without these comorbidities not only have the increased propensity to develop them but also suffer from similar psychosocioeconomic consequences. These patients may not respond to non-surgical treatment of obesity any better than those with BMI > 40. The question has been raised whether to offer them surgical intervention.
Methods: A study was carried out to determine outcome of surgery on patients with BMI > 32 but < 40 without life-threatening comorbidities but with either psychological, economic or social impairments affecting their quality of life. The approval of our Hospital Internal Review Board was obtained. In addition to routine evaluation for surgical intervention, these patients were required to have the approval of their primary care physician, be seen pre-operatively by a psychiatrist, and have a member of the family or a very close friend present at the time of discussion of operative risks and follow-up requirements. Patients committed to at least a 5-year follow-up. They were to be self-paying patients. The transected silastic ring vertical gastric bypass with a temporary gastrostomy was used.
Results: 50 patients, 49 women and one man, were entered into the study between May 1, 1999 and April 30, 2000. 50% were self-pay, and the other 50% were able to obtain coverage through their insurance companies. There were few peri-operative complications and no deaths. The late complications include incisional hernias, dumping and transient alopecia. Hospital stay averaged 3.7 days. Follow-up has been 18-27 months. Weight loss has been excellent.
Conclusion: Preliminary results of surgical intervention extended to patients with BMI 32-40 without life-threatening comorbidities but with psychosocioeconomic ramifications are very promising. Long term follow-up and comparison with other bariatric patients are planned.