Newswise — Sleeve gastrectomy, a procedure where surgeons remove about 80 percent of the stomach, has become the most popular method of weight-loss surgery in America, surpassing laparoscopic gastric bypass, which had been the most common procedure for decades, according to researchers from Cleveland Clinic.

The findings were presented here at ObesityWeek 2015, the largest international event focused on the basic science, clinical application and prevention and treatment of obesity. The weeklong conference is hosted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS).

Researchers studied nearly 72,000 patients who had bariatric surgery between the years 2010 and 2013. In 2010, sleeve gastrectomy accounted for just 9.3 percent of procedures, while 58.4 percent were laparoscopic gastric bypass and 28.8 percent were gastric band procedures. By 2013, nearly half (49%) the procedures were sleeve gastrectomy, 43.8 percent were gastric bypass, and the number of gastric band procedures had plummeted to just 6 percent.

We’ve seen a real shift in the world of bariatric surgery with the emergence of the sleeve gastrectomy,” said Philip Schauer, MD, a study co-author and director of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute in Ohio. “In just four years, there’s been a five-fold increase in the number of these operations. This is likely due to a combination of factors including better insurance coverage and more data demonstrating its safety and effectiveness in treating obesity and related diseases.”

For the study, the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Database was analyzed to identify adult patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more who had some form of bariatric surgery. Patients were predominantly female (78.1%) and about 45-years-old.

During the four years covered in the study, there were no significant changes in age or gender in terms of overall operations, but the proportion of women undergoing sleeve gastrectomy increased to 79.2 percent from 73.2 percent, and the average BMI dropped from 47.8 percent to 45.9 percent. The number of patients with a BMI of 50 or more decreased (23.6% to 32%), as did the number of patients with hypertension (56.2% to 48.4%).

Gastric bypass appears to be the most popular operation among those with type 2 diabetes, rising to 33.3 percent from 30.4 percent. At the same time, patients with diabetes having sleeve gastrectomy dropped from 26.6 percent to 22.5 percent.

Each of the bariatric operations has a place in the treatment of obesity and related diseases,” said John M. Morton, MD, MPH, president of the ASMBS and Chief, Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine. “The answer as to which one is right for which patient is based on a careful evaluation of the risks and benefits of each procedure and the health status of the patient,” added Dr. Morton, who was not involved in the study.

According to the ASMBS, about 193,000 people had bariatric surgery in 2014, and by its own estimates, sleeve gastrectomy was also found to be the most common procedure, accounting for 51.7 percent of weight-loss operations, followed by gastric bypass (26.8%), gastric band (9.5%), and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (0.4%).

In addition to Dr. Schauer, study authors of the abstract entitled, “Recent National Trends in the Surgical Treatment of Obesity: Sleeve Gastrectomy Dominates,” include Zhamak Khorgami, MD; Amin Andalib; Ricard Corcelles MD, PhD; Ali Aminian, MD; and Stacy Brethauer, MD, all from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

About Obesity and Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 78 million adults were obese in 2011–2012.i The ASMBS estimates about 24 million people have severe or morbid obesity. Individuals with a BMI greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals as well as an increased risk of developing more than 40 obesity-related diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.ii,iii

Metabolic/bariatric surgery has been shown to be the most effective and long lasting treatment for morbid obesity and many related conditions and results in significant weight loss. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported significant improvements in the safety of metabolic/bariatric surgery due in large part to improved laparoscopic techniques.iv The risk of death is about 0.1 percentv and the overall likelihood of major complications is about 4

About the ASMBS

The ASMBS is the largest organization for bariatric surgeons in the world. It is a non-profit organization that works to advance the art and science of bariatric surgery and is committed to educating medical professionals and the lay public about bariatric surgery as an option for the treatment of morbid obesity, as well as the associated risks and benefits. It encourages its members to investigate and discover new advances in bariatric surgery, while maintaining a steady exchange of experiences and ideas that may lead to improved surgical outcomes for morbidly obese patients. For more information, visit


*RECENT NATIONAL TRENDS IN THE SURGICAL TREATMENT OF OBESITY: SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY DOMINATES -- Zhamak Khorgami, MD; Amin Andalib; Ricard Corcelles, MD, PhD; Ali Aminian, MD; Stacy Brethauer, MD; Philip Schauer, MD; Presented November 4, 2015

iPrevalence of Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2011–2012. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (October 2013). Access October 2013 from

iiOffice of the Surgeon General – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Overweight and obesity: health consequences. Accessed March 2012 from

iiiKaplan, L. M. (2003). Body weight regulation and obesity. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. 7(4) pp. 443-51. Doi:10.1016/S1091-255X(03)00047-7.

ivPoirier, P., Cornier, M. A., Mazzone, T., et al. (2011). Bariatric surgery and cardiovascular risk factors. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. 123 pp. 1-19. Accessed March 2012 from

vAgency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Statistical Brief #23. Bariatric Surgery Utilization and Outcomes in 1998 and 2004. Jan 2007

viFlum, D. R. et al. (2009). Perioperative safety in the longitudinal assessment of bariatric surgery. New England Journal of Medicine. 361 pp.445-454. Accessed June 2012 from