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Invited Commentary
November 2016

Myths Surrounding Bariatric Surgery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(11):1055. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.2301

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This is a philosophical question that has been around for hundreds of years and raises the issue of whether we can safely assume that the unobserved world functions the same as the observed world. There are many myths surrounding bariatric surgery. One of the most prevalent perceptions held by many is that most bariatric surgery patients will eventually gain all of their weight back. As illustrated in the article by Maciejewski et al,1 studies that follow up with a large cohort of bariatric surgery patients for more than a few years are limited and hampered by low rates of long-term follow-up. While the results of these studies generally imply that long-term weight loss is possible in most patients, poor follow-up leaves one to wonder whether this is a generalizable conclusion. In the article by Maciejewski et al,1 it is remarkable that such a low number of gastric bypass patients (3%) regained weight back to within 5% of their baseline weight by 10 years, especially in the context of a follow-up rate of 82%.

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