The Superobese Patient

  • Michel SuterEmail author


Like cancer and other chronic and progressive medical conditions, obesity has traditionally been divided into different stages according to the severity of the disease. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that BMI may not always express similar degrees of fatness between individuals, this organization defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health, with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 as a threshold [1]. The risks associated with obesity are continuous and increase with disease severity. WHO recognizes three classes of obesity according to the body mass index (BMI). Class 1 obesity refers to patients with modest obesity and a BMI between 30 and 34,9 kg/m2, class 2 includes patients with a BMI between 35 and 39,9 kg/m2, and class 3 refers to patients with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2. In the nonspecialized literature, the latter patients are offered referred to as massively obese, or extremely obese. In bariatric medicine, which essentially deals with patients in the WHO class 2 and 3 categories, it is useful to further divide morbid obesity into more classes. This may be helpful in selecting patients for various bariatric procedures, for specific surgical approaches, for preoperative patient preparation and/or weight loss, etc. It is also useful to have categories encompassing patient groups that can reasonably be compared between each other both regarding risks, results of surgery, morbidity and mortality, or any other specific issue. The superobese patient is defined arbitrarily has having a BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2. Other terms are being used for even more severe sub-categories such as patients with BMI > 60 (super-super-obese) or above 70 (mega-obese).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryRiviera-Chablais HospitalAigle-MontheySwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Visceral SurgeryUniversity Hospital LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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