Weight-reduction surgeries that involve an adjustable band to constrict the stomach appear to be increasing in frequency among teens in California, despite the procedure not being approved for adolescents. That's according to findings (subscription required) published today in Pediatrics.
In the study, researchers at UC Los Angeles analyzed medical data for 590 individuals between the age of 13 and 20 who underwent elective bariatric surgery in California between 2005 and 2007. They found:
There has been a dramatic shift in the type of bariatric procedures performed on adolescents in California over a 3-year period. There was a sevenfold increase in the rate of [gastric banding], with a corresponding decrease in [gastric bypass]. Although gastric banding has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adolescents younger than 18 years, the increase in use of it was most pronounced in this age group. In fact, data from the end of our study period indicate that [gastric banding] overtook [gastric bypass] as the most frequently performed bariatric surgery procedure in patients younger than 18 years.
The researchers also noted that bariatric surgeries were more prevalent among white teens, who represented only 28 percent of those who were overweight but accounted for 65 percent of the procedures.