How safe is metabolic/diabetes surgery?

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2015 Feb;17(2):198-201. doi: 10.1111/dom.12405. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Although recent studies have shown the impressive antidiabetic effects of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB), the safety profile of metabolic/diabetes surgery has been a matter of concern among patients and physicians. Data on patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent LRYGB or one of seven other procedures between January 2007 and December 2012 were retrieved from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database and compared. Of the 66 678 patients included, 16 509 underwent LRYGB. The composite complication rate of 3.4% after LRYGB was similar to those of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and hysterectomy. The mortality rate for LRYGB (0.3%) was similar to that of knee arthroplasty. Patients who underwent LRYGB had significantly better short-term outcomes in all examined variables than patients who underwent coronary bypass, infra-inguinal revascularization and laparoscopic colectomy. In conclusion, LRYGB can be considered a safe procedure in people with diabetes, with similar short-term morbidity to that of common procedures such as cholecystectomy and appendectomy and a mortality rate similar to that of knee arthroplasty. The mortality risk for LRYGB is one-tenth that of cardiovascular surgery and earlier intervention with metabolic surgery to treat diabetes may eliminate the need for some later higher-risk procedures to treat diabetes complications.

Keywords: NSQIP; bariatric surgery; cardiovascular; complication; diabetes; gastric bypass; metabolic surgery; morbidity; mortality; obesity; safety.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / surgery*
  • Gastroplasty / adverse effects*
  • Gastroplasty / methods
  • Gastroplasty / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States