, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 826-832

Bariatric Surgery in Adolescence. Is this the Best Age to Operate?

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Background: Bariatric surgery in morbidly obese adolescents is controversial. Many argue that morbidly obese individuals should be of adult age before undergoing bariatric operations, despite the progressive and debilitating course of this increasingly common disease. Materials and Methods: 19 consecutive adolescent patients, aged 13-17, underwent vertical banded gastroplasty-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass between May 1990 and August 2001. Average BMI was 49 kg/m2, range 38-67. All had one or more co-morbidities. Follow-up was obtained up to 10 years. Results: Postoperative BMI at the maximum time of follow-up, mean 5.5 years (range 1-10 years), was 28 (range 23 to 45). Only one patient did not lose enough weight and was considered a failure. There were two revisions and no mortality or morbidity. All co-morbidities disappeared. Family and patients were pleased with the surgery. Conclusions: Early surgical intervention should be offered to a greater number of adolescents to minimize the emotional and physical consequences of morbid obesity.