Bariatric Surgery Gains Popularity Among Adolescents

Bariatric surgery – the surgical insertion of a band or other device, or partial removal of the stomach – continues to gain popularity among obese adolescents as a way to lose and maintain weight. In the study, “Trends and Outcomes of Adolescent Bariatric Surgery in California: 2005-2007,” published in the October 2010 issue of Pediatrics (published online Sept. 20), researchers 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).

While not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children, LAGB continues to gain popularity among adolescents, with the number of procedures jumping nearly 7-fold during the study period, from .3 per 100,000 to 1.5 per 100,000. Meanwhile, LRYGB declined from 3.8 per 100,000 to 2.7 per 100,000.

White adolescents girls, while representing 28 percent of overweight teens and young adults, underwent 65 percent of the procedures. The study authors recommend long-term studies to fully assess the efficacy, safety and health care costs of these procedures in adolescents.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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