|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 51-52
Time to discontinue body mass index (BMI) as a qualifying criterion for metabolic (diabetes) surgery
Center of Bariatric Surgery, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Submission||14-Jul-2023|
|Date of Acceptance||14-Jul-2023|
|Date of Web Publication||04-Aug-2023|
Dr. Ramen Goel
Center of Bariatric Surgery, C10, Wockhardt Hospitals, Agripada, Mumbai - 400 011, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Goel R. Time to discontinue body mass index (BMI) as a qualifying criterion for metabolic (diabetes) surgery. J Bariatr Surg 2023;2:51-2
|How to cite this URL:|
Goel R. Time to discontinue body mass index (BMI) as a qualifying criterion for metabolic (diabetes) surgery. J Bariatr Surg [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 29];2:51-2. Available from: http://www.jbsonline.org/text.asp?2023/2/2/51/382974
Recent changes in the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (MBS) guidelines by the International Federations for the Surgery of the Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) and American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), almost 30 years after the precedent-setting 1995 NIH statement, were long overdue. The surgical community is yet to grasp the implications of the altered body mass index (BMI) cutoffs for practice. Unfortunately, millions fail to qualify and thus benefit from surgery, even with the revised guidelines.
A recent interaction with a 72-year-old, 26.5 BMI Indian man with glycated hemoglobin of 11 can explain my clinical predicament. Refusing to accept my denial to offer metabolic surgery (BMI<27.5), the patient broke down and accusingly asked, “How can you, as a doctor, deny an effective treatment for a disease from which I am suffering for so many years, and which can help me live longer?”
Fully aware that, just 6 months back, we denied surgical treatment to anyone below 35 BMI; I was left wondering for which other disease, we refuse a treatment based on an unrelated physical attribute. The 2022 guidelines have continued to use BMI as the selection parameter, based on the ease of use and baggage of bariatric past associated with these gastro-intestinal surgeries. Debate over the use of BMI criterion for obesity has been raging in the bariatric community. However, for diabetes treatment, glycemic control remains the sole criterion used by physicians for times immemorial.
As a hapless physician, cornered into a situation, I realized that the limiting factors for the acceptance of surgery for diabetes are not related to its efficacy, but the use of guidelines based on obesity management and not diabetes understanding. Though recent guidelines expressly state that access to surgery should not be denied solely based on BMI risk zones, they fail to define a different criterion for diabetes patients. How can one deny treatment for blood sugar control based on the height (a major contributor in BMI calculation) and weight of the patient? It is likely that over decades, millions of eligible patients with uncontrolled diabetes have been denied access to a treatment (based on the NIH 1991 guidelines), which could have improved disease, reduced morbidity, improved quality of life, and added extra years to their life.
Studies,,,, have shown that diabetes and other metabolic effects of metabolic surgery are similar in lower BMI patients compared to >35 BMI patients. Even apprehension of excessive weight loss is not valid, as the weight loss in low BMI surgery patients is significantly less than in morbidly obese patients. Furthermore, the postsurgical diet can be individualized to avoid weight loss in low BMI diabetes patients. The benefit of glycemic control in such patients far outweighs the potential side effect of a few kilograms of weight loss.
It is time, instead of waiting for 30 more years, to call out the continued use of BMI as the qualifying criterion for metabolic (diabetes) surgery.
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