, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 858-863
Date: 01 Jun 2005

Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery in Super-obese Patients (BMI>50) is Safe and Effective: A Review of 332 Patients

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Background: Bariatric surgery in super-obese patients (BMI >50 kg/m2) can be challenging because of difficulties in exposure of visceral fat, retracting the fatty liver, and strong torque applied to instruments, as well as existing co-morbidities. Methods: A retrospective review of super-obese patients who underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB n=192), Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP n=97), and biliopancreatic diversion with/without duodenal switch (BPD n= 43), was performed. 30day peri-operative morbidity and mortality were evaluated to determine relative safety of the 3 operations. Results: From October 2000 through June 2004, 331 super-obese patients underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery, with mean BMI 55.3 kg/m2. Patients were aged 42 years (13-72), and 75% were female. When categorized by opertaion (LAGB, RYGBP, BPD), the mean age, BMI and gender were comparable. 6 patients were converted to open (1.8%). LAGB had a 0.5%, RYGBP 2.1% and BPD 7.0% conversion rate (P=0.02, all groups). Median operative time was 60 min for LAGB, 130 min for RYGBP and 255 min for BPD (P<0.001, all groups). Median length of stay was 24 hours for LAGB, 72 hours for RYGBP, and 96 hours for BPD (P <0.001). Mean %EWL for the LAGB was 35.3±12.6, 45.8±19.4, and 49.5±18.6 with follow-up of 87%, 76% and 72% at 1, 2 and 3 years, respectively. Mean %EWL for the RYGBP was 57.7±15.4, 54.7±21.2, and 56.8±21.1 with follow-up of 76%, 33% and 54% at 1, 2 and 3 years, respectively. Mean %EWL for the BPD was 60.6±15.9, 69.4±13.0 and 77.4±11.9 with follow-up of 79%, 43% and 47% at 1, 2 and 3 years, respectively. The difference in %EWL was significant at all time intervals between the LAGB and BPD (P<0.004). However, there was no significant difference in %EWL between LAGB and RYGBP at 2 and 3 years. Overall perioperative morbidity occurred in 27 patients (8.1%). LAGB had 4.7% morbidity rate, RYGBP 11.3%, and BPD 16.3% (P=0.02, all groups). There were no deaths. Conclusion: Laparoscopic bariatric surgery is safe in super-obese patients. LAGB, the least invasive procedure, resulted in the lowest operative times, the lowest conversion rate, the shortest hospital stay and the lowest morbidity in this high-risk cohort of patients. Rates of all parameters studied increased with increasing procedural complexity. However, the difference in %EWL between RYGBP and LAGB at 2 and 3 years was not statistically significant.