Applying a stomach bypass surgery on obese teens, may have a large improvement on their health as it reduces an average of 27 percent of their weight.
Also, it could cut down their high blood pressure levels, cholesterol issues, stabilize their kidney functions and fight diabetes, according to a new study.
“When you are the parent of a morbidly obese teen and you are contemplating surgery, it’s reassuring to see a large study like this that gives you a little more peace of mind that this intervention is safe and effective,” Dr. Thomas Inge, lead author of the study, told Reuters.
The long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted over the course of three years, following teen patients that went under a stomach bypass surgery process. Over 240 adolescents at five U.S. health centers, aged between 13 to 19, were analyzed.
The patients had an average body-mass index (BMI) of 53, meaning one of them could be a 5’3” teenager with a 300-pound weight. All of them went under one or two of these bypass procedures, and no control group was used.
After three years, the average weight dropped from 325 pounds before the surgery, to 240. Although many of the patients remained obese, 86 percent of them saw their abnormal kidney functions reduced. When it comes to high cholesterol issues, 66 percent of them no longer had them.
As for adults, the high blood pressure was reduced in a 38 percent, as in teenagers it was reversed in 74 percent. Diabetes in adults gets reduced in a 60 percent, compared to the 90 percent that teenagers show.
Researchers say that the results in adolescents were better than what doctors registered on older patients. However, doctors are remarking the fact that in both age-groups the benefits are important.
Doctors explain that 13 percent of the patients required additional surgery, usually for removing their gallbladder —a small organ that stores the bile produced by the liver. Also, those who showed low iron levels were treated with vitamin supplements.
Dr. Inge stated that many patients told him, and the research team, that their life-quality was improved after these procedures. He says that when parents have kids who can’t fit into their environment due to their size and weight, day-to-day improvements mean a lot to them, helping them to gain comfort and self-esteem.
He explained that, if the proper steps are followed, the improvements in weight, blood sugar, kidneys and lipid levels can reduce the risk of having strokes, heart attacks and other health conditions in the future, according to Reuters. Dr. Inge also announced that these patients are going to be followed and studied for another 10 years, as part of a larger study.
Nevertheless, doctors still believe that surgery should be one of the last resources to treat obesity, as families and doctors alike need to control and recognize when their children are gaining too much weight before it is out of control.
“We need to be thinking proactively and doing something about this far earlier,” Dr. Inge concluded.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine