Metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) can be a well tolerated and effective treatment option for severe obesity in adolescents. We compared outcomes for adolescents that did and did not proceed to surgery.
A single-center longitudinal study (2015–2020). Patients were identified as LSG if they completed laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy within 6 months of initial visit and NoLSG if they did not. Chi-square, Fisher exact, nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis tests, and Linear Mixed Models (LMM) were used to compare outcomes over 2 years.
Three hundred fifty-two adolescents were referred with a mean age of 15.6 ± 1.4, 69% girls, 38% Hispanic, and 78% had noncommercial insurance. The median baseline weight was 135 kg and body mass index (BMI) was 48 kg/m2; 42% had a BMI >50. Seventy-nine (22%) underwent LSG whereas 273 (78%) did not complete MBS primarily because of lack of interest. LSG patients had 21% total weight loss and 22% total BMI loss at 24 months whereas NoLSG patients had 4% total weight gain and 3% BMI gain (P < 0.01). Obesity-associated conditions improved in the LSG group (P < 0.01). Follow-up in both groups was poor (≤30% at 24 months). Patients with public insurance and those with BMI from 50 to 59.9 kg/m2 were high performing LSG patients.
A minority (22%) of adolescents referred for MBS proceeded to surgery, despite its demonstrated efficacy and safety in adolescence. Those that did not undergo surgery continued to gain weight. Further research is needed to understand patient preferences or concerns related to MBS utilization during adolescence.