The morbid obesity epidemic continues to spread throughout industrialized nations. It is a condition with a heterogeneous etiology, including genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. Prevention methods have currently been unable to halt the further spread of this disease. Obesity has been linked to increased healthcare costs, common physiologic derangements, reduced quality of life, and increased overall mortality. More than one third of adults and almost 17% of children in the United States are obese.
Medical therapy that can cause sustained significant weight loss may be years away. Bariatric surgery, when combined with a multidisciplinary team, continues to be the only proven method to achieve sustained weight loss in most patients. Bariatric procedures modify gastrointestinal anatomy and, in some cases, enteric hormone release to reduce caloric intake, reduce absorption, and alter metabolism to achieve weight loss. Currently, the three most common bariatric operations in the United States are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band, and the vertical sleeve gastrectomy.