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October 19, 2005

Filling the Gaps in Bariatric Surgical Research

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa (Dr Courcoulas) and Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Flum). Dr Flum is a Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2005;294(15):1957-1960. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1957

Despite phenomenal growth in the use of bariatric surgical procedures, research on these interventions continues to be reported primarily through the case series of experienced practitioners1 and has focused only on selected outcomes. As a result, there is a gap between the proliferation of these procedures and the evidence base needed to understand key components of their use. This gap includes an assessment of the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in the population at-large, the total impact of bariatric surgery on patients and the health care system, identification of which patients are best suited for which procedures, and the physiological mechanisms that promote weight loss after surgery. Understanding the circumstances that have limited research in bariatric surgery should help direct future investigators to the challenges that need to be addressed when studying this important and increasingly performed group of procedures.

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