Pre-specified weight loss before bariatric surgery and postoperative outcomes

Ugochukwu Chinaka, Joshua Fultang, Abdulmajid Ali, Jean Rankin, Andisheh Bakhshi

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Bariatric surgery is increasing exponentially to address the steep rise in the prevalence of severe obesity. Most centers require pre-specified preoperative weight loss before allowing patients to receive surgery. We examined the current evidence surrounding the potential benefits of this requirement on postoperative outcomes. We reviewed the current literature by conducting a multistage advance electronic search in Ovid®/MEDLINE® and PubMed for publications indexed after 2008 reporting preoperative weight loss and postoperative outcomes. Thirteen original publications, three randomized control trials (RCT), and five systematic reviews that met inclusion criteria were included. These were analyzed with regards to weight loss before surgery and postoperative outcomes. There were varied reports regarding the significant effect of preoperative weight loss. Six of the original articles (50%) did not identify a significant difference in the outcome while two of the RCT (essentially the same patient population, started in 2007 and reanalyzed in 2009) demonstrated some advantage. A later RCT (2012) did not show any advantage, albeit in the short term. The results of the systematic reviews, some with heterogenic designs, show no conclusive evidence that weight loss before surgery conferred improved postoperative outcomes. There is not enough high-quality evidence to back up the requirement of pre-specified preoperative weight loss before receiving surgery. Further validation of the possible benefits of pre-specified preoperative weight loss may need to be carried out.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12406
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • pre-specified
  • pre operative
  • weight loss and obesity
  • post operative
  • bariatric surgery
  • outcomes


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