Dallas, TX & Palestine, TX
Serving Tyler, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, Arlington, Houston & more
Weight Loss Surgery for Teenagers
- Obesity is not a weight problem, it is a medical condition
- Teen weight loss surgery helps teenagers lose weight and moves a teen towards good health
- Anesthesia is safe for teenagers
- Obese teenagers are at risk for becoming obese adults with medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea
- Obesity surgery such as, adjustable gastric band (Lap Band®, Realize®) surgery is safe for teenagers
- The band needs adjustments with saline fills to work correctly
- The entire family must join in to help the obese teenager be successful
- Good nutrition is necessary for bariatric surgery to be successful
- Small portion, frequent meals help to lose weight
- Vitamins and other supplements are needed for good health
- Daily aerobic exercise is needed for bariatric surgery to succeed
- A serious change in lifestyle is needed to beat obesity
- Individual or family counseling may be recommended for safety and success
- Routine visits after surgery are important
- Different tests may be recommended before surgery can be done
- The surgeon will help the teenager and family choose which operation is the best
The Truth About Obesity and Why Obesity Surgery is Fit for Your Teen
Obesity is not a weight problem. It is a real medical condition. This statement is surprising to a lot of people. Many people, even medical professionals do not accept this, but it is known medical science.
Surgery for teenagers to help get rid of obesity is about health. Obesity is a medical epidemic that is affecting the entire world and causes other medical conditions and shortens a person’s life.
For teens, obesity brings on problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea. Medical science has suggested that obese teenagers have a 50% chance of going on to become obese adults, who will then develop medical problems.
Even if you or your teenager does not have medical conditions, surgery can still be the answer for treating and getting rid of obesity. Until recently, many doctors would never have thought of surgery for obese teens. Surgery was too drastic and too dangerous. They believed that low calorie diets and family counseling were safer.
Just like for adults, diets may have very little success in teenagers. Sometimes, diets just don’t work. If a diet has failed to produce meaningful results over 3 to 6 months, it may be time to think about surgery.
Anyone can argue about the reasons why teenagers are developing obesity. The absence of physical education, no participation in organized after school physical activities, the popularity of computer games leading to hours of sitting still. Or, the easy availability of high calorie fast food and our very busy lives all combine to create the problem of obesity.
Excuses do not solve or get rid of the problem of obesity for teenagers. Once obesity sets in, it is very difficult for the teenager and their family to remedy the medical condition. Under the supervision of professionals like doctors and dietitians, diets for the treatment of obesity have a 95% failure rate. When a teenager and their family have tried all they can and obesity is still a problem, it is time to turn to Dr. Dirk and weight loss surgery options.
Surgery will help your body create hormones that will move you towards good health. You will not feel these hormones working. These hormones cannot be activated with medicine, surgery gets those hormones working. Surgery, good nutrition and daily aerobic exercise, give good health and help you lose weight.
It is understandable parents are worried about the risks of surgery and anesthesia for their children. But, medicine of anesthesia has advanced tremendously in the 20 years. The same is true for surgery. The chance that something could go wrong is less than 1%. The staff and the facilities of Dr. Dirk have extensive experience in obesity surgery and anesthesia. They are dedicated to make sure that the surgery goes well.
If good nutrition and daily aerobic exercise are needed for surgery to succeed, why do the surgery? It’s recommended to try something first other than surgery to get rid of their obesity.
Weight Loss Surgery & Nutrition
The nutrition plans patients are put on are meant to protect them, help them heal from surgery and to avoid nutrition problems. None of the operations are meant to create poor nutrition or malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies or anemia.
All of the obesity operations I discuss can be done laparoscopically.
There are medical studies that show Lap Band Surgery is safe and works. What we don’t know is what effect the band will have on a teenager’s body over the course of the next 20, 30 or 40 years of their life. We do not know if the device will last that long, or need replacement. In adults the band may need surgery to correct problems, and we expect the same will be true for teenagers as they grow in to adults. We do not know if the longer the band stays in place, or if it will have any problems that we have not seen in adults.
There is no medical study that has used gastric sleeve surgery in teens. As doctors we are not recommending the sleeve in teenagers, but that does not mean that it cannot be used in a teenager that is close to their body becoming an adult (ages 16 to 18). We do not know what the long term effect of removing the big floppy portion of the stomach will have on the teenager in 20, 30 or 40 years. We do not know if it will produce anemia, vitamin deficiencies or bone calcium problems.
There are ongoing studies that have shown that gastric bypass surgery is safe and it can help teenagers with obesity. What we do not know is what happens after 20, 30, 40 or more years of living with a gastric bypass. We do not know if it will produce anemia, vitamin deficiencies or bone calcium problems.
The family of any teenager looking into obesity surgery should get involved from the beginning. If the entire family is involved in helping the teen to become healthy, this guarantees good health for all. The parents should attend the first office visit as well as any education sessions with dietitians and exercise trainers. Visits with a mental health specialist may be needed based on family dynamics.