Objective: To examine the safety and effectiveness of adolescent bariatric surgery and to improve treatment recommendations for this age group.
Design: Prospective longitudinal registry. Since January 2005, patients undergoing bariatric surgery in Germany are enlisted in an online registry called 'study for quality assurance in obesity surgeries'.
Subjects: Adolescents and young adults up to the age of 21 years, operated from January 2005 to December 2010.
Measurements: Weight, BMI, comorbidities, complication rates.
Results: N=345 primary procedures were recorded by 58 hospitals. N=51 patients were under the age of 18 years. Follow-up information was available for 48% (n=167) of patients, with an average observation period of 544±412 days (median: 388 days). The most common surgical techniques were gastric banding (n=118, 34.2%), gastric bypass (n=116, 33.6%) and sleeve gastrectomy (n=78, 22.6%). Short-term complications (intra-operative; general postoperative; specific postoperative) were slightly lower for gastric banding (0.8%; 2.5%; 0.8%) than for gastric bypass (2.6%; 5.2%; 1.7%) or sleeve gastrectomy (0%; 9.0%; 7.7%). In accordance with published findings, weight and BMI reduction were lower for gastric banding (-28 kg; -9.5 kg m(-2)) compared to gastric bypass (-50 kg; -16.4 kg m(-2)) P< 0.001 or sleeve gastrectomy (-46 kg; -15.4 kg m(-2)) P< 0.001. Outcomes did not differ between the <18 and ≥18-year-old patients.
Conclusion: Like in adults, bariatric surgery has low short-term complication rates and results in sustained weight loss in adolescents. However, the missing long-term observations prohibit a final conclusion about lasting effectiveness and safety. Clinical trials with structured follow-up programs and mechanisms to ascertain patient adherences are needed.