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Adolescent Weight-loss Surgery May Offer More than Adult Surgery

Adolescent Weight-loss Surgery May Offer More than Adult Surgery

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For obese adolescents whose best option is weight-loss surgery, sooner is better that later. Studies show that earlier surgery not only reduces the increasing health damage obesity causes over time, but, because less damage has occurred, allows easier recovery from surgery.

Adolescent obesity expert Dr. Thomas Inge and his colleagues at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report that obesity complications such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and heart disease have been documented to be less severe in teens than in adults, making early intervention beneficial.

Tracking the progress of more than 60 adolescent weight-loss surgery patients confirmed that they required shorter hospital stays and generally recovered more quickly than adult surgery patients.

The studies were of patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery, the most comprehensive weight-loss surgery, and the most effective. As the name suggests, the surgery allows food to bypass part of the digestive system, so that fewer calories are absorbed. It also decreases the area of the stomach available for food, so that patients' hunger should be satisfied by smaller meals.

As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with gastric bypass, but Inge and other obesity specialists say that the risks are very small and that, for those at high levels of obesity, the risks of not taking action are much more dangerous.

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