Bariatric surgery rates dropping in adolescents

Published on December 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM · No Comments

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Rates of bariatric surgery in adolescents have plateaued since 2003, despite childhood obesity being on the increase, suggest US study findings.

"Our study confirms the previously reported growth in bariatric procedures from 2000 to 2003 among adolescents," write Randall Burd (Children's National Medical Center,

Washington, DC) and colleagues in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

"Despite the suggestion that adolescent bariatric surgery has increased in popularity and continued to grow exponentially, inpatient surgery use leveled off from 2003 through 2009, reaching a plateau of about 1,000 procedures annually," they add.

Burd and team analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database for the period 2000 to 2009.

In 2000 the inpatient bariatric procedure rate was 0.8 per 100,000 procedures in adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, which rose to 2.3 per 100,000 in 2003, a statistically significant difference.

However, the rates in 2006 and 2009 did not differ significantly from those measured in 2003, at 2.2 and 2.4 per 100,000 procedures, respectively.

Burd and colleagues found that the most common type of procedures carried out had changed from more invasive procedures in 2000 to less invasive techniques in 2009. The most common technique used in 2009 was laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, at 32.1%.

The number of comorbidities seen in those undergoing bariatric procedures increased between 2003 (49.3%) and 2009 (58.6%), but surgical complications were low throughout the 2000 to 2009 period, and the length of hospital stay had decreased by a day between 2003 and 2009.

"The data show that adolescent bariatric surgery trends mirror those observed in the adult population, with a plateau in volume during the mid-2000s and a shift toward less invasive procedures. They also point to low use of this potentially life-altering treatment in adolescent boys and groups of lower socioeconomic status," the authors conclude.

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