Bariatric Surgery in Kidney Transplant Candidates and Recipients: Experience at an Asian Center

J Obes Metab Syndr. 2022 Nov 23. doi: 10.7570/jomes21090. Online ahead of print.


Background: Kidney transplant (KT) candidates and recipients with obesity experience more frequent complications such as infection, poorer allograft outcomes, diabetes, and mortality, limiting their eligibility for transplantation. Bariatric surgery (BS) is not commonly performed among KT patients given concerns about immunosuppression absorption, wound healing, infections, and graft outcomes. Its role has not been described in an Asian setting.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients who underwent BS at the largest KT center in Singapore from 2008 to 2020 was conducted. Metabolic outcomes, immunosuppression doses, graft outcomes, and mortality were studied.

Results: Seven patients underwent BS and KT (4 underwent BS before KT, 3 underwent BS after KT; 4 underwent sleeve gastrectomy, 3 underwent gastric bypass). Mean total weight losses of 23.8% at 1 year and 18.6% at 5 years post-BS were achieved. Among the five patients with diabetes, glycemic control improved after BS. There were no deaths in the first 90 days or graft loss in the first year after KT and BS. Patients who underwent BS after KT had no significant changes in immunosuppression dose.

Conclusions: BS can be safely performed in KT recipients and candidates and results in sustainable weight losses and improvements in metabolic comorbidities. Although no major complications were observed in our study, close monitoring of this complex group of patients is imperative.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Chronic kidney disease; Kidney transplantation.