Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bariatric Surgery May Be Appropriate for Adolescents

Bariatric surgery has been used as a treatment for obesity in adults for many years. But there is some question as to whether bariatric surgery is appropriate for adolescents. Guidelines are established for adult bariatric surgery, but no guidelines have been set for adolescent bariatric surgery. Still, the surgery is being considered because adolescent obesity is a problem. Recent studies have shown that bariatric surgery can enable adolescents to lose weight, improve mobility, and the comorbidities associated with obesity.

In a study consisting of 242 obese adolescents, the study participants reduced their weight by 40%, starting with an average BMI of 51.7. These adolescents also experienced a reduction in the extent of their comorbidities associated with the obesity. Further, adolescent participants experienced increased mobility. After six months, 195 of the participants were able to reduce the amount of time it took to complete a 400 meter walk by 29 seconds. The time to make the walk went from 6.3 minutes to 5.8 minutes.

So, bariatric surgery can improve the health of obese adolescents. As one Washington Post article concluded: “a growing number of clinicians and researchers say that weight-loss surgery may be [adolescents'] best chance to take off significant weight and either correct or avoid such conditions as diabetes and heart disease, which often go hand-in-hand with obesity.”

Still, opting for bariatric surgery requires that weight loss practitioners and their adolescent patients first try diet, exercise and behavior modification. Only when these endeavors fall short should bariatric surgery be considered.

Further, there may be drawbacks to the surgery for adolescents. One drawback of bariatric surgery for adolescents might be interference with an adolescent's growth. The surgery may prevent adolescents from receiving important nutrients.

More research is of course needed to determine if and when bariatric surgery is appropriate for adolescents. Anyway, bariatric surgeons and obesity medicine physicians should work together to arrive at the most appropriate weight loss treatment. And bariatric surgery likely has a place in the treatment of obese adolescents.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Subscribe to Overfat Strategy Blog by Email