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Weight-Loss Surgery for Severely Obese Teens Safe

Half of teens have several major comorbid conditions

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Half of severely obese adolescents who undergo weight-loss surgery have several major comorbid conditions, but the short-term safety profile of the surgery is positive, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Thomas H. Inge, M.D., Ph.D., from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues examined clinical characteristics and safety in 242 patients (19 years and younger) who underwent weight-loss surgery from 2007 to 2011 by laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or adjustable gastric banding.

The researchers found that the mean body mass index was 50.5 kg/m², and 51 percent of patients had four or more major comorbid conditions. Although there were no deaths during hospitalization or within 30 days of surgery, 8 percent of patients had major complications (re-operation) and 15 percent of patients had minor complications (re-admission for dehydration). All major complications and 85 percent of minor complications were related to the surgery.

"In this series, adolescents with severe obesity presented with abundant comorbid conditions," Inge and colleagues write. "We observed a favorable short-term complication profile, supporting the early postoperative safety of weight-loss surgery in select adolescents."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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