Bariatric surgery for the treatment of chronic kidney disease in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus

Type Article

Journal Article


N. G. Docherty; C. W. le Roux

Year of publication



Nature reviews nephrology





Bariatric surgery is an effective therapy for obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus that is refractory to maximal medical therapy. Results of long‐term cohort studies and emerging evidence from randomized clinical trials have revealed that, in addition to its beneficial effects on weight reduction, blood pressure and metabolic control, bariatric surgery might reduce the incidence and long‐term progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Preclinical studies have provided experimental verification that bariatric surgery improves key parameters of kidney injury at the functional, structural and ultrastructural levels, and effects a programme of transcriptomic change in the kidney that is coherent with injury resolution. Multiple mechanisms explain these observations, ranging from predictable aspects of risk‐factor reduction to some novel and unforeseen renoprotective benefits of surgery. Current evidence therefore supports the judicious use of bariatric surgery to treat patients with obesity, diabetes and CKD. Optimizing the benefits of surgery requires careful patient selection and consideration of how to identify and mitigate some of the challenges associated with these surgical procedures.