Pretransplantation bariatric surgery in patients with high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is fraught with risks. Bariatric surgery after liver transplantation (LT) may be complicated by surgical adhesions but could have advantages if performed at the time of transplantation. We investigated a method of brief-interval staging combining LT and sleeve gastrectomy (SG). LT recipients with a body mass index (BMI) > 40 kg/m 2 received an SG during the same hospitalization as the LT (LT/SG), at the same time as a planned brief-interval return to the operating room for biliary anastomosis. Differences in intraoperative attributes of the LT (Stage 1) versus SG (Stage 2) procedures were analyzed using Wilcoxon signed-rank test with significance p  < 0.05 and compared with patients with obesity having a two-stage LT without SG. A total of 14 cases {median MELD score 33 (interquartile range [IQR], 18-40)} were compared with 28 controls; 60% were critically ill prior to surgery with mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, or continuous renal replacement therapy. Median interval between procedures was 16.1 (IQR, 12.5-22.7) hours for cases and 12.2 (IQR, 11.1-16.6) hours for controls, p = 0.27. Median BMI at LT/SG was 47.0 (IQR, 41.7-51.3) kg/m 2 versus 38.1 (IQR, 35.7-39.8) kg/m 2 for controls, p  < 0.001. At 1 year, median excess body weight loss was 74.0% (IQR, 46.2%-78.7%) in cases and 15.8% (IQR, -5.4% to 62.6%) in controls, p = 0.13; total weight loss was 38.1% (IQR, 23.9-42.9) in cases versus 7.7% (IQR, -2.4% to 27.6%) for controls, p = 0.03. Graft survival at 1 year was 92.9% for cases and 89.3% for controls with similar early postoperative outcomes. This proof-of-concept study revealed that a brief-interval SG during LT is feasible in patients with high MELD and resulted in sustained weight loss at 1 year with similar graft survival. Further studies are needed to determine an optimal strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-430
Number of pages9
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number4
Early online dateAug 17 2022
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • End Stage Liver Disease/surgery
  • Gastrectomy/adverse effects
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation/adverse effects
  • Obesity, Morbid/surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Surgery
  • Hepatology


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