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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

SHTAC publishes updated Cochrane review on surgery for weight loss in adults

Published: 13 August 2014
Image of operation being performed

A systematic review of the most recent evidence on weight loss surgery for obesity in adults is now published in the Cochrane Library

Obesity is associated with many health problems and a higher risk of death. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery for obesity is usually only considered when other treatments have failed. It can be considered for people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, or for those with a BMI less than 40 and weight-related disease such as diabetes. SHTAC conducted a systematic review of the most recent and highest quality evidence to compare surgical interventions with non-surgical interventions for obesity (such as drugs, diet and exercise) and to compare different surgical procedures.

The Cochrane Library publishes systematic reviews that are regularly updated, providing the ‘best available’ and most up-to-date evidence on the effects of interventions for use by consumers, clinicians and policy makers to inform healthcare decisions. The SHTAC systematic review on surgery for weight loss was first published in the Cochrane Library in 2003 and is updated regularly.

The current review found that surgery results in greater improvement in weight-loss outcomes and some weight-related diseases compared with non-surgical interventions, regardless of the type of surgical procedure used. Certain surgical procedures resulted in better weight-loss outcomes than others when compared with each other. But, not all procedures were compared with each other and some were only carried out in people with relatively low or relatively high BMI. The long-term effects of surgery remain unclear.

For more information on SHTAC’s research into obesity please visit our Research page.

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