Two of the world’s leading authorities on bariatric and metabolic surgery have issued new evidence-based clinical guidelines that among a slew of recommendations expand patient eligibility for weight-loss surgery and endorse metabolic surgery for patients with type 2 diabetes beginning at a body mass index (BMI) of 30, a measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight and one of several important screening criteria for surgery.
The ASMBS/IFSO Guidelines on Indications for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery — 2022, published online today in the journals, Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases(SOARD) and Obesity Surgery, are meant to replace a consensus statement developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) more than 30 years ago that set standards most insurers and doctors still rely upon to make decisions about who should get weight-loss surgery, what kind they should get, and when they should get it.
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is the largest group of bariatric surgeons and integrated health professionals in the United States and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) represents 72 national associations and societies throughout the world.
“The 1991 NIH Consensus Statement on Bariatric Surgery served a valuable purpose for a time, but after more than three decades and hundreds of high-quality studies, including randomized clinical trials, it no longer reflects best practices and lacks relevance to today’s modern-day procedures and population of patients,” said Teresa LaMasters, MD, President, ASMBS. “It’s time for a change in thinking and in practice for the sake of patients. It is long overdue.”
In the 1991 consensus statement, bariatric surgery was confined to patients with a BMI of at least 40 or a BMI of 35 or more and at least one obesity-related condition such as hypertension or heart disease. There were no references to metabolic surgery for diabetes or references to the emerging laparoscopic techniques and procedures that would become mainstay and make weight-loss surgery as safe or safer than common operations including gallbladder surgery, appendectomy, and knee replacement. The statement also recommended against surgery in children and adolescents even with BMIs over 40 because it had not been sufficiently studied.
New Patient Selection Standards — Times Have Changed
The ASMBS/IFSO Guidelinesnow recommend metabolic and bariatric surgery for individuals with a BMI of 35 or more “regardless of presence, absence, or severity of obesity-related conditions” and that it be considered for people with a BMI 30-34.9 and metabolic disease and in “appropriately selected children and adolescents.”
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