Controversial laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding – or lap band surgery – has been found to be beneficial for “severely obese” teenagers and should be used as a “first option” to manage weight during adolescence, a new Australian study has found.
Researchers from the University on Adelaide on Friday shared the findings of their study, in which they said it was not only an efficient way to manage weight for extremely obese teens, but it also had positive effects on the patients’ mental health.
Pediatric surgeon and lecturer at the University of Adelaide, Sanjeev Khurana said the reversible surgery could safely be used by adolescents battling extreme obesity.
“Although gastric banding has been controversial and is currently less used in adults with severe obesity, lap band surgery is one of the most studied surgeries for obesity management, has a high safety record and can be a temporary option to manage severe obesity during adolescence,” Khurana said in a statement.
“Our findings support lap band surgery as a safe and effective option for management of adolescents with severe obesity – provided it is performed by an experienced surgeon and managed afterwards.”
Meanwhile Pediatric Endocrinologist Alexia Pena said while the surgery can benefit those struggling with obesity, it should be avoided by those who are just a little overweight.
“We are talking about a group of adolescents with severe obesity and significant health and psychological problems related to their increased weight – this is not for everyone,” Pena said.
The study found that patient weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) “improved significantly” following the surgery, with the long term BMI loss found to be between 7.1 and 14.7 kg/m2.
“The median BMI reduction of 10 kg/m2 with the lap band is a good result when compared to BMI reduction using the few medications available or lifestyle measures, which is around 1-3 kg/m2,” Pena said.
“Lap band surgery is reversible and allows time for adolescents to mature to make a more informed decision on a permanent surgical procedure if required later on in life.”