Non-surgical obesity treatments include diet therapy, behavior modification, and medications. Several studies have shown a high incidence (90%) of failure for morbidly obese patients to sustain long-term weight loss with any form of non-operative treatment (3) (4). The documented ineffectiveness of all non-surgical treatment methods to achieve and maintain significant weight loss has led to numerous surgical techniques in the management of severe obesity. A National Institute of Health (United States) Consensus Statement published in 1991 noted that "Published studies of medical approaches to the treatment of obesity include few reports or indications of efficacy in persons with clinically severe obesity." The report also noted that "gastric restrictive or bypass procedures could be considered for well-informed and motivated patients with acceptable operative risks." (5)

Other studies have indicated that treating obesity surgically is more effective at producing and maintaining weight loss than the long-term management of the associated co-morbidities through conventional medical therapy (6). For individuals who are morbidly obese (BMI greater than 35) and who have failed to maintain weight loss through medical treatment, diet and behavior modification, surgery has been recommended as an option.