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Aug 2012

Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics (Dr Hsia), Division of Pediatric Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery (Drs Fallon and Brandt), Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(8):757-766. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1011

Pediatric obesity has increased from a relatively uncommon problem to one of the most important public health problems facing children today. Typical “adult” diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, have become increasingly prevalent in the pediatric population. The earlier presentation of these comorbidities will have a significant impact for the future because this population of children will require more medical resources at an earlier age and will have a significantly decreased life expectancy. The significant morbidity of obesity in the pediatric population has led to consideration of more aggressive treatment protocols for obesity in children, including the introduction of surgical management at an earlier age. Surgery for obesity in adolescents has particular risks and benefits that must be accounted for when considering this approach. The unique psychological and emotional needs of adolescent patients make the patient selection process and perioperative management substantially different from those of adult patients. Initial outcomes of bariatric surgery in adolescents are comparable to those seen in adults in the short term. However, the long-term effects of these procedures on the adolescent population are not known. This review discusses the epidemiology of pediatric obesity, the indications for operative therapy in adolescent patients, the common surgical procedures used for weight loss, the reported outcomes of these procedures, and the importance of multidisciplinary management for this unique patient population.