Context: Adolescent obesity is a common and serious health problem affecting more than 5 million young people in the United States alone. Bariatric surgery is being evaluated as a possible treatment option. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (gastric banding) has the potential to provide a safe and effective treatment.
Objective: To compare the outcomes of gastric banding with an optimal lifestyle program on adolescent obesity.
Design, setting, and patients: A prospective, randomized controlled trial of 50 adolescents between 14 and 18 years with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35, recruited from the Melbourne, Australia, community, assigned either to a supervised lifestyle intervention or to undergo gastric banding, and followed up for 2 years. The study was performed between May 2005 and September 2008.
Main outcome measures: Weight loss. Secondary outcomes included change in metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, quality of life, and adverse outcomes.
Results: Twenty-four of 25 patients in the gastric banding group and 18 of 25 in lifestyle group completed the study. Twenty-one (84%) in the gastric banding and 3 (12%) in the lifestyle groups lost more than 50% of excess weight, corrected for age. Overall, the mean changes in the gastric banding group were a weight loss of 34.6 kg (95% CI, 30.2-39.0), representing an excess weight loss of 78.8% (95% CI, 66.6%-91.0%), 12.7 BMI units (95% CI, 11.3-14.2), and a BMI z score change from 2.39 (95% CI, 2.05-2.73) to 1.32 (95% CI, 0.98-1.66). The mean losses in the lifestyle group were 3.0 kg (95% CI, 2.1-8.1), representing excess weight loss of 13.2% (95% CI, 2.6%-21.0%), 1.3 BMI units (95% CI, 0.4-2.9), and a BMI z score change from 2.41 (95% CI, 2.21-2.66) to 2.26 (95% CI, 1.91-2.43). At entry, 9 participants (36%) in the gastric banding group and 10 (40%) in the lifestyle group had the metabolic syndrome. At 24 months, none of the gastric banding group had the metabolic syndrome (P = .008; McNemar chi(2)) compared with 4 of the 18 completers (22%) in the lifestyle group (P = .13). The gastric banding group experienced improved quality of life with no perioperative adverse events. However, 8 operations (33%) were required in 7 patients for revisional procedures either for proximal pouch dilatation or tubing injury during follow-up.
Conclusions: Among obese adolescent participants, use of gastric banding compared with lifestyle intervention resulted in a greater percentage achieving a loss of 50% of excess weight, corrected for age. There were associated benefits to health and quality of life.
Trial registration: ANZCTR Identifier: 12605000160639.