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From the JAMA Network
November 5, 2014

Long-term Risks and Benefits of Bariatric SurgeryA Research Challenge

Author Affiliations
  • 1Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2014;312(17):1792-1793. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12966

Bariatric surgery results in lasting weight loss and is recognized as improving metabolic aspects of obesity, for which long-term outcomes remain poorly defined. Many important research questions remain unanswered, contributing to limited use of bariatric surgery for both weight loss and metabolic conditions.

A workshop was recently convened by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to address the current status and needs of research about long-term bariatric surgical outcomes. Detailed findings from this workshop are reported by Courcoulas et al1 in JAMA Surgery. The best available evidence regarding bariatric surgical outcomes comes from large observational studies and from recently performed randomized clinical trials (RCTs).1 Compared with the RCTs, the observational studies were larger with longer follow-up. Although the best available evidence is that “bariatric surgical procedures result in greater weight loss than nonsurgical treatment,”2 there is still a need for more information about long-term outcomes (at least 10 years’ worth) after surgical procedures.

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