BACKGROUND Super-super obesity (body mass index [BMI] >/= 60 kg/m(2)) is thought to be a risk factor for complications and mortality in laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Excess weight loss has been demonstrated to be diminished compared with less obese patients following surgery. However, we hypothesize that super-super obese patients who undergo laparoscopic gastric bypass can realize major improvements in their health and a good quality of life without a significantly increased risk of complications when compared with less obese patients. METHODS From July 2002 to July 2005, University of Wisconsin Health bariatric surgeons performed 288 consecutive laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedures. Patients were divided into 2 groups: BMI >/= 60 kg/m(2) (n = 28) and BMI < 60 kg/m(2) (n = 260). The groups were compared at defined time intervals during a 2-year period following surgery. Comparison criteria included complications, weight loss, comorbidities, and quality of life. RESULTS Both groups had similar morbidity and mortality rates. Excess weight loss was shown to be less, but total pounds lost were greater, for the super-super obese patients at all postoperative time intervals specified for postoperative analysis. Despite this fact, overall health improved to a similar degree in each group of patients following surgery; both groups also had similar Moorehead-Ardelt quality of life scores. Using the Bariatric Analysis and Reporting Outcome System (BAROS) to categorize outcomes, the average result for a patient in either group of patients would be considered "very good" at 1 year following surgery. CONCLUSIONS Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass can be accomplished safely even in extremely obese patients. Although excess weight loss in the super-super obese is diminished postoperatively when compared with less obese patients, health is improved and quality of life is good regardless of a patient's preoperative BMI. Therefore, laparoscopic gastric bypass is a good option even in the extremely obese.