Bariatric surgery and gastroesophageal reflux disease
With the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity globally, the practice of bariatric surgery is being adopted routinely to prevent the development of chronic conditions as well as some forms of cancers associated with obesity. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of those chronic conditions. Furthermore, there is accumulating data that obesity is associated with complications related to longstanding GERD such as erosive esophagitis (EE), Barrett’s esophagus (BE), and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Central obesity, rather than body mass index (BMI), appears to be more closely associated with these complications. It should be expected, therefore, that weight loss procedures should result in improvement in GERD symptoms and its associated complications. However, in reality the different bariatric surgical procedures have unpredictable effects on an established GERD and may even produce GERD symptoms for the very first time (de novo). In this review, we explore the literature studying the effects of bariatric surgical operations on GERD. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass appears to have the most beneficial effect on GERD. On the other hand, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) are linked with long-term increased prevalence of GERD. We argue that GERD is an extremely important preoperative consideration for any patient undergoing bariatric surgery and therefore should be thoroughly investigated objectively (with 24-hour pH study and high-resolution manometry) to select the most suitable bariatric procedure for patients for their long-term success.