Teens who go for bariatric surgery enjoy better health benefits than adults

A study of 242 white girls weighing an average 325 pounds and reported in The New England Journal of Medicine showed, during a medical conference on obesity in California, that teens who undergo bariatric surgery enjoy better health benefits than adults who do the operation.

Obese adults who undergo bariatric surgery often experience diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure after the operation, but medical experts are learning to better deal with these so as not to compromise the success of the operation.

But in teens, new data shows that 95% of diabetes could be reversed following bariatric surgery; but in adults, the rate of diabetes disappearance is 50%-75% following surgery. Statistics from five hospitals show that teens lost about 90 pounds after bariatric surgery, a total reversal of type 2 diabetes, including high blood pressure, while many of them enjoyed better kidney condition.

Apart from this, kidney functions improved 86% of the time, hypertension was reversed in 74% of the participants, and abnormal lipid levels and high blood pressure were rectified 66% of the time. These are in addition to the disappearance of diabetes benefit.

There are a few downsides, however. Some of the teens experienced a spike in iron deficiency, and many more had mineral and vitamin deficiency after the surgery, and a few had to have their gallbladder removed.

Dr. Marc Michalsky, surgical director of Nationwide Children’s Center for Health Weight and Nutrition want teen and adult patients to be aware of the health issues they face after bariatric surgeries. Since nearly 4.4 million teens and children are obese in the US, Michalsk said severe obesity could be difficult to treat at this stage without recourse to surgery.


The American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery are already providing guidelines on how teens seeking bariatric surgery should be catered for in pediatric obesity surgery programs; listing pre-counseling before surgery and support following surgery.

And Dr. Bruce Wolfe, professor of surgery at Oregon Health & Science University said the new guidelines would help surgeons to prescribe bariatric surgery to teens for whom no other weight loss option would work, without serious complications.