More Teens Turning to Weight Loss Surgery

September 20, 2010

Bariatric surgery is quickly gaining popularity among obese adolescents--particularly white adolescent girls--as a way to lose and maintain weight.

Bariatric surgery is quickly gaining popularity among obese adolescents—particularly white adolescent girls—as a way to lose and maintain weight, according to findings from a study published in Pediatrics.

Howard C. Jen, MD, and colleagues from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA, reviewed the records of 590 adolescents, ages 13 to 20 years who underwent bariatric surgery—either Laparoscopic adjustable Gastric Banding (LAGB) or Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (LRYGB). The researchers, who sought to evaluate trends and outcomes of adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery, identified the records of 590 patients from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development database for the study.

Jen and colleagues found that although it is not approved by the FDA for use in children, LAGB is becoming increasingly popular among adolescents, with the number of procedures jumping nearly 7-fold during the study period, from 0.3 per 100,000 to 1.5 per 100,000. LRYGB, on the other hand, declined from 3.8 per 100,000 to 2.7 per 100,000.

Interestingly, they noted that white adolescent girls, who represented 28% of overweight teens and young adults in the study, underwent 65% of the procedures. They also found that self-payers were more likely to undergo LAGB and less likely to undergo LRYGB compared with privately insured adolescents. The rate of major in-hospital complication was 1%, and no deaths were reported. Of the patients who received LAGB, 4.7% underwent a band revision/removal, compared to 2.9% of those who received LRYGB required reoperations.

The authors recommend long-term studies “to fully assess the efficacy, safety and health care costs of these procedures in adolescents.”

For more:

Pharmacy TimesPatient Counseling: Childhood and Adolescent Obesity-A Growing Epidemic

Obesity Rates Decreasing for Many Teens, but Disparity Gap Widens

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month