Appledore Medical Group November 08, 2019

Is bariatric surgery right for obese teens?

An interview with Dr. Bernard Benedetto of Atlantic Surgical Associates

PORTSMOUTH - Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States and doctors are debating the merits of metabolic and bariatric surgery for adolescents.

“That’s a pretty hot topic right now,” said Dr. Bernard Benedetto, a critical care surgeon and metabolic and bariatric physician at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “I am at the National Bariatric Surgery meeting in Las Vegas right now and this is being widely discussed.”

Benedetto said 25% of adolescents are considered obese.

“The data suggests the development in obese adolescents will only result in more serious problems as they grow into adults,” said Benedetto. “So, a child at 14 who is obese is going to face issues such as depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Studies show the behavioral/pharmacological treatments are not as effective in adolescents for many reasons. The current train of thought is that we teach them better lifestyle choices that they bring with them into adulthood. But that does not seem to be what is happening for most of them. The bad habits continue to carry forward as they age.”

Because of that, early intervention with bariatric measures can have a greater impact as they grow up. Benedetto said earlier might be better.

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