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Why Your Teen May Benefit from Bariatric Surgery with More than Just Weight Loss

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Improve your teen's metabolic condition wiht weight loss surgery

Do you believe that weight loss surgery is only for adults? A new study indicates that aside from losing weight, these benefits of teen weight loss surgery may improve other significant health factors.


According to a news item from the American Heart Association, weight loss surgery for teens can do more than just help them drop some weight. New research presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology/Peripheral Vascular Disease 2016 Scientific Sessions, showed that weight loss surgery also increased “good” cholesterol levels and other important cardiovascular biomarkers.

“We already knew that weight loss surgery improves weight and cholesterol numbers,” said Amy S. Shah, M.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

“This new research shows that there are actually changes in the way high density lipoprotein (HDL) functions in adolescents, which may lead to a reduction in long-term cardiovascular risk.”

The research referred to in the news by the American Heart Association involved 10 teenage boys who averaged 367 pounds before undergoing vertical sleeve gastrectomy to reduce the size of the stomach.

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgical procedure is a unique sleeve and staple procedure in which the surgeon using staples, creates a sleeve-shaped stomach―about the size of a banana―with the excised portion of the stomach removed, which allows the newly shaped stomach capable of holding only about one cup of food.

The benefit of this type of surgery is that although food is physically restricted, digestion and absorption remains normal―unlike a gastric bypass that removes a significant portion of the small intestine out of the digestion process. Plus, it also appears to cause a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and an increase in metabolism.

According to the American Heart Association, one year after surgery, the teens:

• Increased levels of the so-called good cholesterol by 23 percent.

• Lost an average 111 pounds.

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• Reduced their body mass index by 32 percent. Body mass index is a scientific way to evaluate body weight.

In addition, the surgery showed a positive impact on HDL function with:

• Cholesterol efflux, the ability of HDL to remove cholesterol from artery walls so it can be sent to the liver and removed from the body, increased 12 percent.

• HDL oxidation potential, a measure of how easily HDL generates oxidants or free radicals that can trigger unwanted inflammation, decreased 30 percent.

• HDL became more anti-inflammatory, with a 25 percent decrease on the HDL inflammatory index.

Dr. Shah pointed out that aside from the typical goal of seeing these young men lose some weight, the surgery also benefited them by improving their metabolic syndrome disease state.

“Despite remaining obese, these young men showed improved metabolic health measured by HDL function after surgery,” Shah said.

The news report cautions that this was a small preliminary study and that there is no data whether female teens would benefit similarly to male teens.

For more about teens and weight loss surgery, here is a related article on a weight loss procedure that transforms young obese patients

Reference: American Heart Association news “Weight loss surgery boosts ‘good’ cholesterol in obese teen boys

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