Bariatric Surgery: Not Just For Adults

Despite the known value of weight loss surgery, however, most of the procedures were limited to adults with significant obesity related diseases or years of trying to lose weight. Rarely have the procedures been performed on teens, for a variety of reasons:

  • Most successful weight loss surgeries, like gastric sleeve, are irreversible.
  • Teens lose weight easier than older adults with diet and exercise.
  • Behavioral/eating habits are often considered different and developing with teens.

Many parents – but some doctors as well – have shied away from the idea of performing any type of weight loss surgery, concerned that the teens still have the ability and drive to lose weight on their own. Some certainly do.

But the good news is that, according to recent research, bariatric surgery in teens is highly beneficial, and appears to have very successful results for struggling obese teens.

The study looked at 242 teens that completed either gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, the two most effective forms of bariatric surgery. Both lost an average of about 26% of their body weight within three years (which is as much as 60% or more of excess weight above a healthy body weight). They then experience many excellent health related outcomes, including:

  • 95% remission in diabetes.
  • 76% remission in high blood pressure.
  • 86% remission in abnormal kidney function.

Anecdotally, many patients experienced a boost in self-confidence as well, and a decrease in the incidence of depression, though these factors were not included in the study.

Potential Cautions Before Considering Teen Weight Loss Surgery

That is not to say that bariatric surgery is without risk in teens. About half of all patients had a low iron count, indicating that their nutritional intake after surgery was not adequate for their developing bodies. That is why visits with nutritionists, regular supplementation, and monitoring is important after any bariatric surgery, especially gastric bypass (gastric sleeve also requires supplementation, but has fewer dietary restrictions making it slightly easier to avoid nutritional deficits).

In addition, bariatric surgery is known to promote weight loss so quickly, that a teen may find that they are left with excess skin and tissue that may cause them distress, especially at an age that when appearance is considered very important. Many teens opt for body lifts after significant weight loss in order to make sure that they are more confident in their newer bodies.

Creating Positive Outcomes for Obese Teens

Yet despite these drawbacks, the research on teen health outcomes after bariatric surgery, especially when compared to control, are very clear – teens that are struggling with obesity see much improved health outcomes at least 3 years after surgery. That is why it is important to speak with a specialist and genuinely determine if bariatric surgery is right for you or your teen.

If you’re looking for additional help with body lifts body contouring in Los Angeles after your weight loss surgery, make sure you call us today at 949-644-2442.