Gastric Bypass: Is It Safe and Effective for Younger Patients

It’s a simple fact that obesity isn’t just a concern for the aging population. It is estimated, in fact, that about a third of all American teenagers are obese. For those who find themselves classified as severely obese, the potential health ramifications are many. Obese teens face a higher risk for developing a long list of medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Addressing obesity while a child is younger is generally recommended, but diet and exercise alone may not be enough.

The reality that diet and exercise may not adequately address a teen’s needs to lose weight has many parents wondering about the benefits surgery may present. Research has shown that gastric bypass procedures can provide teens who are severely obese with the long-term help they need to shed pounds and keep them off. Studies are also showing that this procedure, although rather invasive, is safe to consider when a teen’s health is in jeopardy due to weight.

A recent study added to the body of growing evidence supporting the use of gastric bypass procedures on adolescents who are seriously obese. The study in question followed a group of young patients over the course of several years and ultimately found positive results in regard to weight loss and ability to maintain the loss over the long run. The safety of the procedure was also found to be quite satisfactory.

Teens and parents of teens who are considered seriously obese are urged to explore all safe weight loss options. Losing weight sooner rather than later can help teenagers avoid a lifetime of complications, such as diabetes and heart disease. To find out more about bariatric surgery interventions and their appropriateness in a teen’s case, it is best to speak directly with a qualified surgeon.

Can Bariatric Surgery Address Binge-Eating Concerns?

People who suffer from eating disorders that cause them to put on dramatic amounts of weight may turn to bariatric surgery as a solution. While weight loss surgery can address one facet of a patient’s concerns, many experts agree that more needs to be done to adequately confront eating disorders that may have contributed to obesity in the first place. For example, bariatric surgery by its design may help people resist the urge to binge eat since a smaller stomach capacity may make doing so painful. Surgery, however, will not and cannot on its own address the underlying psychological issues that promote binge-eating behavior.

Since binge-eating and obesity may go hand-in-hand, some weight-loss experts recommend patients with both concerns take a multi-pronged approach. One prong may very well involve the use of bariatric surgery to help patients shed pounds and slim down to a healthier, safer weight. The other, however, must focus on the support necessary to assist patients in confronting the binge-eating behavior, its triggers and methods for overcoming the urge to overeat.

Bariatric surgery on its own can help patients address weight-loss concerns, but it is not a cure all for underlying conditions that promoted weight gain in the first place. With that in mind, it is not entirely out of the question for bariatric surgeons to insist that their patients undergo counseling before surgery. In some cases, practices may have in-house counseling to assist patients in laying the groundwork for long-term success. Post-surgical support groups, counseling and other forms of help may also be available and strongly advised.

Bariatric surgery can help people who are obese lose weight effectively, but it is not a cure for underlying problems. If an eating disorder is at the root of weight-related concerns, it is strongly recommended that patients take a multi-faceted approach. To find out more about eating disorders and weight loss surgery, speak to a qualified healthcare provider.