Overweight and obesity are rapidly growing to epidemic proportions in the United States and globally. Since sustainable weight loss is only achieved by bariatric surgery, medicine has seen an explosion in the diversity and number of bariatric procedures performed over the past few years. Systematic studies of postoperative outcomes and investigations into the physiology and biology of weight loss provide a more comprehensive understanding of the sequelae of bariatric surgery. Adipose tissue is the predominant site of fat stores. Increasing obesity results in an overload of lipids within the body's natural storage sink (i.e., the adipocyte) followed by the necessary deposition of fat within ectopic sites such as muscle, liver, and pancreas. The resulting metabolic derangements are associated with insulin resistance, central obesity, and chronic inflammation as adipose tissue acts as an endocrine organ, producing and secreting a host of biologic mediators. Whereas there are conflicting data on the cardiovascular effects of peripheral, subcutaneous liposuction, malabsorptive bariatric procedures result almost universally in significant amelioration of insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis. Concomitant changes in adipocyte-derived hormones may provide mechanistic explanations to the observed improvements.