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Trends Noted in Adolescent Bariatric Surgery in California

Disproportionate majority are white, female; gastric banding rates increasing

MONDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In California adolescents, whites and females are having bariatric surgery at rates disproportionate to the rates seen for boys and nonwhites, and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) has increased dramatically among adolescents, according to research published online Sept. 20 in Pediatrics.

Howard C. Jen, M.D., of the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study of 590 adolescents (younger than 21) who underwent elective bariatric surgery in 2005 to 2007. The purpose of the study was to identify trends and evaluate outcomes of bariatric surgery in adolescents.

White female adolescents accounted for a disproportionate number of the procedures. Though white adolescents represented 28 percent of those who were overweight, 65 percent of the procedures were performed in this group. The researchers found a significant increase -- 6.9-fold -- in the rate of LAGB, while the rate of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) significantly decreased. LAGB was the most frequently performed bariatric surgery procedure in patients younger than 18 years, despite lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in this age group. The procedures had a 1 percent rate of major in-hospital complications; 2.9 percent of LRYGB patients required a second surgery, and 4.7 percent of LAGB patients had removal or revision of the band.

"Despite the limitations inherent in making population-based estimates, discrepancies in the use of bariatric surgery according to race are quite pronounced and mirror those seen in the adult population," the authors write.

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