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Tijuana Bariatric Center Blog

Bariatric Surgery and Teens: Is It a Good Idea?

Two women power walking after bariatric surgeryFor millions of people, bariatric surgery has been a true blessing, giving them the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives after freeing them from the shackles of morbid obesity. Although bariatric surgery has risks, as all surgical procedures do, the health benefits of bariatric surgery are indisputable. The decision as to whether these benefits outweigh the risks is a highly personal one, but for the vast majority of patients, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

For teenagers struggling with chronic obesity, however, the question is more complex. While it is legal for teens to undergo bariatric surgery, there is considerable controversy surrounding the issue. When it comes to bariatric surgery and teens, our Tijuana, BC bariatric surgeons believe that many obese teenaged patients can benefit from bariatric procedures, but that extreme care must be taken in screening candidates. Not all adult patients are psychologically and emotionally ready for the commitment that bariatric surgery entails, so it only makes sense that not all teenaged patients would be, either.

Do you have a teenager who is struggling with morbid obesity? If so, we encourage you to read the following and, if you have any further questions, contact our bariatric surgery practice today.

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe and Beneficial for Teens?

According to the highly acclaimed Johns Hopkins Medical Center, there are studies showing that bariatric surgery may improve the health of obese teens by reducing their risk for comorbid diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and sleep apnea. However, there are no studies showing the long-term effects of bariatric surgery on teens as they develop into adults.

As a result, most bariatric surgeons who are willing to perform weight-loss surgery on teens reserve the surgery for extreme cases, such as for teens with a body mass index (BMI) of 50 or more. Others may be willing to perform bariatric surgery on a teen with a BMI of 35 to 40 if the teen also has other health problems such as type 2 diabetes. At Ready 4A Change, we consider teenaged patients on a case-by-case basis.

How Is Candidacy for Bariatric Surgery Determined for Teenaged Patients?

Determining candidacy for bariatric surgery among teen patients is a somewhat more delicate matter than determining candidacy among adult patients; however, the criteria are, for the most part, similar. As with adult patients, bariatric surgery should be considered a last resort for weight loss for teenaged patients; they should have attempted weight loss through diet and exercise, without success. Teenaged patients should also:

  • Be at or near their final adult height
  • Be emotionally mature enough to make the decision to undergo bariatric surgery
  • Understand the change in lifestyle to which they will have to commit after undergoing surgery, and be willing and able to make that commitment
  • Be mentally stable and healthy
  • Have a strong and supportive family

Learn More about Bariatric Surgery and Teens

To learn more about bariatric surgery and teens, please contact Tijuana Bariatric Center today.

Tagged In: Bariatric Surgery

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