Obesity has become a serious health problem in children and adolescents.
Adults who have weight-loss surgery are usually able to lose a large amount of weight. This weight loss can lead to better diabetes control, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and fewer sleep disorders.
After any weight-loss surgery, your child will:
Teens can also lose weight after weight-loss surgery. In the United States, gastric bypass operations have been used with success in teenagers.
Adjustable gastric banding is another type of weight-loss surgery, but it is not yet approved for teenagers in the United States.
Both gastric bypass and gastric banding are performed through 5 - 6 small cuts on the belly. This is known as laparoscopic surgery.
Most children who have weight-loss surgery also have a health condition that is related to the extra body weight.
The body mass index (BMI) measures below are commonly used by doctors to decide which teens may be helped the most from weight-loss surgery. But not all doctors agree about this.
A BMI of 35 or higher, and a serious health condition related to obesity. These conditions are:
A BMI of 40 or higher, and a less serious health condition related to obesity. These conditions are:
Other things that should be present for a teen who is considering weight-loss surgery:
Teens who have weight-loss surgery should receive care at an adolescent bariatric surgery center. There, a team of experts will give them the special care they need.
Studies about adolescents who have had bariatric surgery suggest that these operations are at least as safe for adolescents as they are for adults. But not enough teenagers have been followed after their weight-loss surgery to know if there are any long-term effects on their future growth or development.
Teenagers’ bodies are still changing and developing. Because of the quick weight loss after surgery, they will need to be careful to get all of the nutrients and vitamins their bodies need.
Because gastric bypass surgery changes the way some nutrients are absorbed, teens who have weight-loss surgery will need to take certain vitamins and minerals for the rest of their life.
Updated by: Alex Nagle, MD, Director of Bariatric Surgery, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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