Racial disparities in perioperative outcomes after bariatric surgery

Adam C. Sheka, Scott Kizy, Keith Wirth, Jayleen Grams, Daniel Leslie, Sayeed Ikramuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: NonHispanic black patients bear a disproportionate burden of the obesity epidemic and its related medical co-morbidities. While bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity, black patients access bariatric surgery at lower rates than nonHispanic white patients. Objectives: To examine racial differences before bariatric surgery and in short-term perioperative outcomes and complications, and the extent to which race is independently associated with perioperative morbidity and mortality. Setting: Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program national database. Methods: Data were extracted from the 2015 Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program Participant Use File. Multivariate analysis was used to identify differences in mortality, length of stay, readmission, and reintervention by race in patients undergoing laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Results: A total of 108,198 patients were included in the analysis. There were significant differences in perioperative disease burden. Black patients had a higher body mass index at the time they underwent surgery (laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: 48.0 versus 45.7 kg/m2; SG: 46.8 versus 44.9 kg/m2; P < .001). Black patients had significantly longer length of stay and higher rates of readmission in both the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and SG groups. In the SG group, black patients had significantly higher 30-day mortality (.2% versus .1%, odds ratio = 3.613, 95% confidence interval 1.990–6.558, P < .001) and higher rates of reoperation or reintervention. Conclusions: We found significant racial disparities in bariatric surgery outcomes, including higher mortality in black patients undergoing SG. The specific causes of these disparities remain unclear and must be the subject of future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-793
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Mortality
  • Obesity
  • Racial disparities
  • Surgical outcomes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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