The epidemic of obesity in developed countries has resulted in patients with extreme (class III) obesity undergoing the full breadth of medical and surgical procedures. The popularity of bariatric surgery In the treatment of extreme obesity has raised awareness of the unique considerations in the care of this patient population. Minimizing the risk of perioperative complications that contribute to morbidity and mortality requires input from several clinical disciplines and begins with the preoperative assessment of the patient. Airway management, intravenous fluid administration, physiologic responses to pneumoperitoneum during laparoscopic procedures, and the risk of thrombotic complications and peripheral nerve injuries in extremely obese patients are among the factors that present special intraoperative challenges that affect postoperative recovery of the bariatric patient. Early recognition of perioperative complications and education of the patient regarding postoperative issues, including nutrition and vitamin supplementation therapy, can improve patient outcomes. A suitable physical environment and appropriate nursing and dietetic support provide a safe and dignified hospital experience. This article reviews the multidisciplinary management of extremely obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery at the Mayo Clinic.
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