Background: Bariatric surgery is a rapidly growing field. Advances in surgical technologies and techniques have raised concerns about patient safety. Bariatric surgeons and programs are under increased scrutiny from regulatory agencies, insurers, and public health officials to provide high quality and safe care for bariatric patients at all phases of care.
Methods: During the 2009 annual meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), a panel of experts convened to provide updated information on patient safety and best practices in bariatric surgery. The following article is a summary of this panel presentation.
Results and conclusions: Weight loss surgery is a field that is evolving and adapting to multiple external pressures. Safety concerns along with increasing public scrutiny have led to a systematic approach to defining best practices, creating standards of care, and identifying mechanisms to ensure that patients consistently receive the best and most effective care possible. In many ways, bariatric surgery and multidisciplinary bariatric surgery programs may serve as a model for other programs and surgical specialties in the near future.