Effect of bariatric surgery on normal and abnormal renal function

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Jul-Aug 2011;7(4):459-64. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2010.11.015. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Background: Obesity has been associated with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome, risk factors for chronic kidney disease. In addition, obesity has been found to have an independent, negative effect on renal function and the progression of renal insufficiency.

Methods: The serum creatinine (CR) in 813 patients who had undergone obesity surgery from 2003 to 2009 at a large academic medical center and had been followed up for ≥24 months was retrospectively monitored. Renal function, as measured by the CR level, was assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, and ≥24 months of follow-up. The groups were stratified by the baseline CR as follows: normal (CR <1.3 mg/dL), mild impairment (CR 1.3-1.6 mg/dL), and moderate impairment (CR >1.6 mg/dL).

Results: Of the 813 patients, 757 had a CR <1.3 mg/dL at baseline. Of those 757 patients, 97.6% had maintained a CR of <1.3 mg/dL, 1.3% had a CR of 1.3-1.6 mg/dL, 1.1% had a CR of >1.6 mg/dL (n = 757) at 6 months of follow-up. At 1 year of follow-up, 99% had maintained a CR of <1.3 mg/dL and 1% had a CR of >1.3% (n = 509). At 2 years of follow-up, 100% had a CR value of <1.3 mg/dL (n = 388). Of the remaining 56 patients, 71.4% had been classified as having mild impairment (CR 1.3-1.6 mg/dL) and 28.5% as having moderate impairment (CR >1.6 mg/dL) before weight loss surgery. Examination of the CR values at ≥2 years after weight loss surgery demonstrated that 76.7% had a normal CR level, 12.5% had mild impairment, and 10.7% had moderate impairment.

Conclusion: Bariatric surgery does not have a negative effect on renal function as measured by the CR, whether CR at baseline is <1.3 or ≥1.3 mg/dL when monitored for ≥24 months. For those with impaired renal function and a CR ≥1.3 mg/dL, improvement in CR was seen in 76.7% at ≥2 years postoperatively, at a point at which the weight loss velocity, hydration, and nutritional status have stabilized. The weight loss associated with bariatric surgery could potentially have a positive effect on renal function at ≥24 months, such as was found in the present study by a stable or reduced CR level. The etiology for this might be a direct effect of weight loss on impaired renal function or an indirect effect by reducing the rates of co-morbidities, such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, both risk factors for renal disease. Additional prospective studies, including weight-matched controls, are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / methods*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss


  • Creatinine