Background: 4% of adolescents in the U.S.A. are obese, 80% of whom will become obese adults. Obesity in adolescence is associated with increased mortality and morbidity in adulthood. Is laparoscopic adjustable silicone gastric banding a safe and effective method of weight loss in morbidly obese adolescents?
Methods: Since 1996, data has been prospectively collected on all patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) by a single surgeon. Patients are reviewed at 6 and 12 weeks following surgery, then at 3 monthly intervals. Weight loss is measured in absolute terms, reduction in body mass index (BMI) and as percentage of excess weight loss.
Results: 17 patients with a median age of 17 (12 to 19) years underwent LAGB. Median follow-up was 25 (12 to 46) months. 2 complications occurred, 1 slipped band and 1 leaking port. BMI fell from a preoperative median of 44.7 to 30.2 kg/m2 at 24 months following surgery, corresponding to a median loss of 35.6 kg or 59.3% of excess weight. 13 of 17 patients (76.5%) lost at least 50% of their excess weight, and 9 of 11 patients (81.8%) had a BMI < 35 kg/m2 at 24 months following surgery.
Conclusion: LAGB is a safe and effective method of weight loss in morbidly obese adolescents, at least in the medium term. Its role in preventing obesity and obesity-related disease in adulthood remains to be determined as part of our long-term study.