May 16 (UPI) — Gastric bypass surgery is producing good, sustained health outcomes for adults, but in some ways isn’t working as well for teens, a new study says.
After having weight loss surgery, a group of teens with obesity lost 26 percent of their body weight, while the adults with obesity lost 29 percent of their weight, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study was also funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases.
The surgery, however, does come with challenges. The teens faced more health risks than the adults following the procedure, like requiring more even stomach surgeries to remove gall bladders. Teens also had lower iron and vitamin D levels, probably because they didn’t take the proper amount of supplements following the surgery.
The researchers say teens have a higher risk of remission back to type 2 diabetes five years after the surgery, and that they are also more likely to regain high blood pressure after controlling their numbers immediately following surgery.
Despite the risks, weight loss surgery seems to have undeniable benefits.
Prior to surgery, 57 percent of teens also required blood pressure medication, compared to 68 percent of adults. During a five-year follow-up, only 11 percent of teens and 33 percent of adults continued to use blood pressure medication.
The teens also had a 27 percent higher likelihood of controlling blood glucose than adults without diabetes medication, the study says.
Overall, 88 percent of the teens used medication to control diabetes before the surgery but none needed it after the procedure. That’s compared to 79 percent of adults who required medication prior to surgery and 26 percent who used it afterward.
“Although there are risks associated with bariatric surgery, this study demonstrates that, for many young people, the benefits likely outweigh the risks,” said Thomas Inge, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Colorado and study first author.