Dr. Podkameni shares advice for parents considering bariatric surgery to treat their obese children and explains if the criteria for bariatric surgery differ for kids.
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Bariatric Surgery for Obese Children I think there are two important things that a parent needs to put in their mind and when they are making a decision in terms of bariatric surgery, especially for adolescents. One is that they try everything in terms of non-surgical therapy, and the second thing is knowing the failure rate of non-surgical therapy. It is extremely high failure rate and you have to take into account that obese adolescents and obese kids will be, in most of the cases, adults who are obese in about 80% of the time. If you can decrease their morbidity, especially regarding obesity-related diseases, yes they will have a much better outcome through their life. They will have a much better adulthood trying to avoid hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, which is high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, and sleep apnea as well. Well, the most important thing when one picks the procedure is to understand the procedures first. If it’s a LAP-BAND, if it’s a gastric bypass, a sleeve or duodenal switch, the patient and the parents, they need to understand fully the procedure – that’s first step. The second step is, are there any morbid conditions associated to your disease? Is there diabetes involved? There is no diabetes involved. There is some data showing that diabetic patients do better with gastric bypass than they do with other procedures. So I think this is an important step that they have to follow is to get information about the procedures, but not just that, and talk to your doctor, talk to your surgeon when you decide about one procedure is to see if there was any involvement or if there is any comorbidities associated to that procedure. It is different in a way that we should wait for their spurt where they had their growth spurt first. We should evaluate not just adolescent, but also the family because if we don’t correct the problems on the household it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to succeed after surgery.