Background: Obesity has been identified as one of the most important public health concerns in both children and adolescents. Unfortunately, even the most comprehensive and aggressive multidisciplinary weight management programs have shown only modest weight loss results. There has been increasing enthusiasm for bariatric surgery for adolescent patients with morbid obesity. Because of the relatively high morbidity and mortality associated with gastric bypass surgery, we have begun to explore laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy as an alternative. We hypothesized that it would be a safe and effective short-term strategy. Methods: We have prospectively collected data from all patients undergoing bariatric surgery at our institution since the inception of our adolescent weight loss surgery program in January 2010. Baseline data collected included age, gender, race/ethnicity, height, weight, body mass index, and comorbid conditions. Postoperative data collected included the type of operation, length of stay, operative morbidity, the need for reoperation, and percent excess weight loss and body mass index at 3-month intervals. Results: Twenty-three patients have undergone laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy at our institution since January 2010. Of these, 18 were female and 5 were male. The mean age was 17.3 ± 1.5 years of age. The mean preoperative weight was 149 ± 30 kg with a body mass index of 52 ± 9 kg/m 2. There were no intraoperative complications, and the only postoperative complication has been pancreatitis in 1 patient. The mean length of stay was 2.2 ± 1.1 days. The mean follow-up was 10.9 ± 7.4 months. The percent excess weight loss at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively was 32%, 38%, and 40%, respectively, in those who had reached these time points. Conclusion: Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a safe operation for adolescent patients with morbid obesity and represents an effective early treatment strategy with approximately 40% excess weight loss at 6 months and 1 year of follow-up. Because of the minimal morbidity associated with laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, it may be the optimal non-device surgical option for this select group of adolescent patients.
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