Background: The authors set out to determine the ability to perform and the success of bariatric surgery within a rural setting. Methods: Patients were selected in a retrospective manner between January 1999 and March 2002. Over this period, 112 consecutive patients underwent an open vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) by a single surgeon. 60 of these patients were contacted by phone and were asked to answer a standardized questionnaire. Their medical histories were also examined. Results: 100% of patients were seen by the dietician (in both group and individual settings) and the anesthetist preoperatively. VBG was successful in more than 85% of patients, and weight loss was maintained over the study period. There was no mortality. Three patients required endoscopic stitch excision, one patient had the VBG reversed, and two required a repeat VBG. Conclusions: Obesity surgery can be achieved in a rural setting with minimal morbidity and successful weight loss.
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