Surgical removal of omental fat does not improve insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular risk factors in obese adults

Elisa Fabbrini, Robyn A. Tamboli, Faidon Magkos, Pamela A. Marks-Shulman, Aaron W. Eckhauser, William O. Richards, Samuel Klein, Naji N. Abumrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is an important risk factor for the metabolic complications associated with obesity. Therefore, a reduction in VAT is considered an important target of obesity therapy. We evaluated whether reducing VAT mass by surgical removal of the omentum improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic function in obese patients. Methods: We conducted a 12-month randomized controlled trial to determine whether reducing VAT by omentectomy in 22 obese subjects increased their improvement following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery in hepatic and skeletal muscle sensitivity to insulin study 1. Improvement was assessed by using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique. We also performed a 3-month, longitudinal, single-arm study to determine whether laparoscopic omentectomy alone, in 7 obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), improved insulin sensitivity study 2. Improvement was assessed by using the Frequently Sampled Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Test. Results: The greater omentum, which weighed 0.82 kg (95% confidence interval: 0.67-0.97), was removed from subjects who had omentectomy in both studies. In study 1, there was an approximate 2-fold increase in muscle insulin sensitivity (relative increase in glucose disposal during insulin infusion) and a 4-fold increase in hepatic insulin sensitivity 12 months after RYGB alone and RYGB plus omentectomy, compared with baseline values (P < .001). There were no significant differences between groups (P > .87) or group × time interactions (P > .36). In study 2, surgery had no effect on insulin sensitivity (P = .844) or use of diabetes medications. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that decreasing VAT through omentectomy, alone or in combination with RYGB surgery, does not improve metabolic function in obese patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-455
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intra-abdominal Fat
  • Omentectomy
  • Portal Hypothesis


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