Background: Obesity is a growing health problem that contributes to numerous life-threatening or disabling disorders, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, degenerative joint disease, and obstructive sleep apnea. Significant weight reduction in the morbidly obese improves or reverses associated illness and benefits well-being. The purpose of the SAGES Appropriateness Conference was to summarize the state of the art for open and laparoscopic operations for the morbidly obese.
Methods: The English literature comparing bariatric procedures was reviewed and grouped by level of evidence by three surgeons (BS, LV, and CC). From more than 1,500 articles, all conference participants were provided with reprints and table summaries of no less than 50 selected manuscripts. Ten experts were requested to present reviews and make evidence-based arguments for and against the open and laparoscopic approaches in written format. An expert panel of six surgeons, including an ethicist and patient, commented on implications of data presented. The finalized statement was e-mailed to all participants for approval and comment.
Results: Consensus statements were achieved on various aspects of morbid obesity, including indications for surgery, resolution of comorbid illnesses with significant weight loss, and the importance of committed bariatric program. Our panel of experts agreed, in general, to the advantages of laparoscopic approaches compared to open operations in skilled hands.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) affords improved short-term recovery compared to open gastric bypass. Laparoscopic adjustable banding can be performed with lower average mortality than either RYGB or any of the malabsorptive operations, and it produces variable degrees of short-term weight loss. Prospective randomized trials are needed to compare gastric bypass, malabsorptive, and restrictive procedures.