Health Growing Obesity In Teens Means More Gastric Bypass Surgery

by Donald Saunders - Date: 2007-04-09 - Word Count: 446 Share This!

Although the number of gastric bypass operations being carried out each year is growing as obesity rates continue to rise in many Western countries, weight loss surgery is still not considered by many to be a suitable solution for obesity in teenagers. This may however be changing and, while numbers still remain small, the number of teenage weight loss surgeries tripled between 2000 and 2003.

At present there are two issues as far as many surgeons are concerned when it comes to teenage obesity surgery. The first is whether or not the procedure is safe in adolescents and the second is how adolescent patients will fare in the longer term.

As far as the longer term effects of surgery are concerned this is a question that will only be answered in time and once a large enough group of adolescents have been through surgery and meaningful statistics are to hand. In 2003, for example, more than 105,000 bariatric operations were performed but, of these, less than 800 were performed on adolescents. Even though some consider that this is a meaningful sample size on which to draw conclusions about the longer term effects of surgery, we will nonetheless still have to wait several years before any conclusions can be drawn.

In terms of surgical success adolescents have proved to be excellent candidates for surgery, requiring less time in hospital, recovering faster than adults and experiencing fewer surgical and post-operative complications. This is perhaps not too surprising when you consider that most adolescents enter surgery without the other major medical problems which are often seen in adults. Most importantly the death rate from gastric bypass surgery in teenagers is very much lower than that seen in adults.

In addition to the two concerns related directly to surgery itself there is also the wider question of whether or not we should be following this route at all with teenagers. Weight loss surgery requires patients to make considerable changes to their lifestyle and there are psychological issues to be faced both before and particularly after surgery. It is one thing for adults to tackle these issues, but many people question whether this a burden we should be placing on adolescents.

At this point there seems to be little doubt that gastric bypass surgery is an effective solution to the problem of obesity in teenagers but time will be needed to assess the longer term effects of surgery and to allow for further studies to be carried out into the psychological aspects of surgery. is a growing resource center providing a wealth of information on obesity and morbid obesity as well as on various forms of gastric bypass surgery.

Related Tags: weight loss, obesity, obese, overweight, weight, child obesity, teen obesity, teenage obesity, adolescent obesity

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