Obese Receive Little Benefit from Surgical Removal of Omental Fat

August 20, 2010

Neither omentectomy alone or in combination with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass improved metabolic function in obese patients.

Because “visceral adipose tissue is an important risk factor for the metabolic complications associated with obesity,” a logical step towards restoring metabolic function would be to reduce overall VAT mass.

Not so, according to a new study published in Gastroenterology, which documents the investigation of a team of researchers from the Vanderbilt University and Washington University Schools of Medicine into the effects of VAT reduction by omentectomy following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery or omentectomy alone in improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic function.

After a 12-month randomized controlled trial involving 22 subjects (RYGB surgery and omentectomy) and a 3-month, longitudinal, single arm study of “seven obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus” (laparoscopic omentectomy alone), researchers found that “there was an approximate 2-fold increase in muscle insulin sensitivy…and a 4-fold increase in hepatic insulin sensitivity 12 months after RYGB alone and RYGB plus omentectomy.”

In the second study, “surgery had no effect on insulin sensitivity…or use of diabetes medications.”

This indicates to the authors that “decreasing VAT through omentectomy, alone or in combination with RYGB surgery, does not improve metabolic function in obese patients.”

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