Early Study Shows Sleeve Gastrectomy is Safe Alternative to Gastric Bypass for Adolescents with Morbid Obesity

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A new study published in the journal Surgery suggests that laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical alternative to the well-known gastric bypass procedure for weight-loss surgery, offers fewer complications and maintains the weight loss and other related benefits of bariatric surgery when used in adolescent patients.

We want to use our surgical experience to identify the safest and most effective surgeries to help these teens find a way to a healthier life, as soon as possible.

A new study published in the journal Surgery suggests that laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical alternative to the well-known gastric bypass procedure for weight-loss surgery, offers fewer complications and maintains the weight loss and other related benefits of bariatric surgery when used in adolescent patients.

The study, led by Children’s National Medical Center surgeon Evan P. Nadler, MD, was the first of its kind in the United States to look at the success of this approach with a particular focus on how well it could work for extremely obese teenagers. The team reviewed the outcomes for 23 patients who underwent sleeve gastrectomy at Children’s National and found on average that patients had lost approximately 40 percent of their excess weight (more than 65 pounds) within one year of the procedure.

“By the time a teenager comes to the Weight-Loss Surgery Program, we know that most conventional methods of weight loss, including diet and exercise, have not significantly helped to improve their health,” said Dr. Nadler, who is also the co-director of the Children’s National Obesity Institute as well as a principal investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “We want to use our surgical experience to identify the safest and most effective surgeries to help these teens find a way to a healthier life, as soon as possible.”

In addition to weight loss, those who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy saw important reductions in obesity-related complications such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Prior to surgery, the adolescent patient group had a combination of 64 different complications related to their weight. After one year, the number of weight-related complications had dropped to 22 for the entire study group.

Many studies have shown that the risk of complications from gastric bypass are relatively high, so the weight-loss surgery community continues to seek alternative methods from gastric-banding devices, which are currently not FDA-approved for use in children, to other minimally invasive procedures like sleeve gastrectomy.

To be eligible for consideration as part of the Children’s National Weight-Loss Surgery Program, patients must meet very specific medical requirements that include an extremely high body mass index (BMI), the completion of a six-month medically supervised exercise and diet program, and a psychological evaluation.

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About Children’s National Medical Center
Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Home to Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. With 303 beds, more than 1,330 nurses, 550 physicians, and seven regional outpatient centers, Children’s National is the only exclusive provider of acute pediatric care in the Washington metropolitan area. Children’s National has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® designated hospital, the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence that a medical center can achieve. For more information, visit http://www.ChildrensNational.org, receive the latest news from the Children's National press room, or follow us Facebook and Twitter.

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Emily Dammeyer

Jennifer Stinebiser
Children's National Medical Center
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