Morbid obesity is associated with increased morbidity and represents a major healthcare problem with increasing incidence worldwide. Bariatric surgery is considered an effective option for the management of morbid obesity. We searched MEDLINE, Current Contents and the Cochrane Library for papers published on bariatric surgery in English from 1 January 1990 to 20 July 2010. We also manually checked the references of retrieved articles for any pertinent material. Bariatric surgery results in resolution of major comorbidities including type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, nephropathy, left ventricular hypertrophy and obstructive sleep apnea in the majority of morbidly obese patients. Through these effects and possibly other independent mechanisms bariatric surgery appears to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) appears to be more effective than laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) in terms of weight loss and resolution of comorbidities. Operation-associated mortality rates after bariatric surgery are low and LAGB is safer than LRYGB. In morbidly obese patients bariatric surgery is safe and appears to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.