Consequences of bariatric surgery on oesophageal function in health and disease

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Feb;13(2):111-9. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.202. Epub 2015 Dec 9.


Obesity is a continuing epidemic with substantial associated morbidity and mortality. Owing to the limitations of lifestyle modifications and pharmacological options, bariatric surgery has come to the forefront as an efficient method of achieving sustained weight loss and decreasing overall mortality in comparison with nonsurgical interventions. The most frequently performed bariatric operations are either purely restrictive, such as laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), or restrictive-malabsorptive, such as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Each operation results in weight loss, but can also have unintended effects on the health of the oesophagus. Specifically, operations might lead to oesophageal dilation or the development of GERD. LAGB is the best-studied procedure with notable evidence for postoperative worsening of GERD and pseudo-achalasia, which increases lower oesophageal pressure and causes aperistalsis. In some studies, LSG initiates not only a worsening of GERD, but also the formation of de novo GERD in patients without preoperative GERD symptoms. RYGB demonstrates the most profound evidence for improvement of GERD symptoms and preservation of oesophageal motility. Future high-quality studies will be required to better understand the interaction between bariatric surgery and oesophageal disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Esophagus / physiology*
  • Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology*
  • Humans