Extremely High Body Mass Index is not a Contraindication to Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
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Background: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGBP) is an effective operation for morbidly obese patients who have failed conservative weight loss treatments. It is currently indicated for patients with BMI >40 kg/m2 or >35 with significant co-morbidities. Controversy exists whether there is an upper limit to BMI beyond which this operation should not be performed. Methods: Between April 1999 and February 2001, 82 patients (19 male, 63 female) underwent LRYGBP. Average age was 43.6, and average BMI was 56 kg/m2. These patients were divided into those with BMI <60 and those with BMI ≥60 kg/m2. Results:There were 61 patients with BMI <60 and 21 patients with BMI ≥60. The groups were similar in age, gender, distribution or incidence of co-morbid conditions (diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, asthma) between the groups. The BMI ≥60 group had a significantly longer length of stay (6.6 days vs 5.3 days, P <0.05), and only 1 patient (BMI 85) developed an anastomotic leak and died. 2 patients in this group (BMI 62 and 73) developed small bowel obstruction requiring lysis of adhesions. 1 patient in the BMI <60 group developed a gastrojejunal stricture requiring balloon dilatation. Conclusion: While patients with a BMI ≥60 are at higher risk for postoperative complications, they are also at higher risk from continued extreme obesity. In our series, 85% of these patients had an uneventful postoperative course and began shedding excess weight. BMI ≥60 should not be a contraindication for LRYGBP.
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