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The researchers found that bariatric surgery could be a safe treatment for adolescents with morbid obesity.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

In a recent study, Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that bariatric surgery could be beneficial to adolescents with morbid obesity. 

The study’s findings showed that bariatric surgery could be an effective way to treat obesity within teens, according to Penn Med News. The researchers found that only a small percentage of teens who underwent bariatric surgery experienced complications and none of the patients died within 30 days of the surgery. 

Penn Med News reported that children who suffer from morbid obesity are more susceptible to worsening health outcomes, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

Robert Swendiman, sixth-year general surgery resident at Penn Medicine and senior author of the study said their findings showed that risks of bariatric surgery are low.

“As the rate of childhood obesity continues to increase, it’s critical for us to identify whether weight loss procedures that are frequently performed on adults are also safe and effective options for adolescents and teens," Swendiman told Penn Med News. 

The study did not find an association between higher BMI and worse health outcomes post-surgery. This new finding on the effectiveness of bariatric surgery could prove to be a useful solution in Philadelphia county, which was ranked as the least healthy county in Pennsylvania based on factors including obesity. 

The study was presented on Oct. 27 at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans by Gerard Hoeltzel, the study’s first author and a research assistant at Penn.