Re: The future of obesity treatment: what can drugs and surgery offer?

20 February 2012

Bariatric surgery is becoming cheaper and safer. It is also emerging as a commercial venture with advertisements by obesity treatment clinics. In short, 'an explosion' of bariatric surgery in many parts of the world has occurrerd as a treatment for just being obese even without any existing co morbidities or meeting the BMI criteria(1) on the assumption that they have risk for early death. The CVD benefits of bariatric surgery were further shown in the ongoing Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study (2).

These procedures are not without risks and mandate adherence to a dietary regime for maintaining the weight loss. Is it then ethical to offer these surgeries to patients looking for 'quick fixes' saying "I do not want to die soon"? Is it ethical to commercialize an invasive therapy such as this? Gastro-enterological societies world wide must provide ethical guide lines as patients may not fully appreciate all the risks involved!

Mathew Jose, Kochi

Reference
1. Editorial. Inadequacy of BMI as an indicator for bariatric surgery. JAMA 2012:307(1) 88-89
2. Bariatric Surgery and Long-Term Cardio-Vascular Benefits JAMA.2012; 307(1) 55-65

Competing interests: None declared

Mathew K Jose, Physician

none

Private, 7A Link Manor ,ORS Road, Kochi India

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