A surgeon now at Children's National Medical Center and his colleagues from New York University have found laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (Lap band) to improve the health of morbidly obese adolescents.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, involved nearly 50 girls and boys ages 14-17. The participants showed significant decreases in total and android fat mass 2 years after surgery. Android fat has been linked to the development of obesity-related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and insulin resistance.
"This study is the first to demonstrate the improvements in overall health and distribution of weight loss after Lap band surgery in adolescents," said Evan Nadler, MD, the lead author and pediatric surgeon at Children's National. "While weight-loss surgery should always be a last resort for adults and adolescents, these findings show us that surgery in adolescents reduces the risk of significant health complications."
The study found that Lap band surgery improved glucose metabolism, reducing the adolescents' risk of developing insulin resistance. Additionally, bone mineral density was not impacted by the surgery, suggesting that bone growth is not affected.
Dr. Nadler is the co-director of the Obesity Institute at Children's National Medical Center, which is comprehensively addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity. Staff includes pediatricians, nutritionists, psychologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, and surgeons who treat patients and families in a clinical setting. The Obesity Institute also includes researchers looking at genetic differences and racial disparities, particularly among children and adolescents, as well as community-based research among different ethnic groups.