Until recently, weight-loss patients have had to meet specific criteria to be eligible for bariatric surgery,
including falling into a certain body mass index (BMI) range and being over the age of 18. But now, studies are showing that even teenagers can benefit from bariatric surgery without suffering from any adverse side effects, and should strongly consider the procedure if they are obese and at risk for serious health complications.
Previously, teenagers were warned against undergoing weight-loss surgery because it put them at higher risk for possible vitamin deficiency, pneumonia, infections, and other major health complications. The newest study published in JAMA Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that teens who undergo weight-loss surgery can improve all comorbidities associated with obesity — including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint pain, and liver disease.
Throughout the course of the study, 242 teens were assigned to undergo either Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric banding. All teens had an average age of 17 and an average BMI of 51. Additionally, over half of all the teens involved in the study suffered from life-threatening comorbidities.
In the weeks and months that followed surgery, none of the teens experienced mortality or complications as a result of having bariatric surgery. Since the late 1990s, weight-loss surgery rates among teens has more than tripled, and is continuing to show more promising for teens thanks to advancements in technology. Although bariatric surgery is considered safe for teens, the study authors still urge parents and teens to work closely with their physicians before resorting to weight-loss surgery to address obesity and issues related to comorbidities.
If you are interested in weight loss surgery, check out MBL’s Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss surgery.