Background

With the increasing prevalence of obesity in adolescents, bariatric surgical procedures represent an increasingly attractive treatment option. It is unclear to what extent adolescent bariatric surgery is being adopted, and which patient and provider characteristics are most to lead to bariatric surgery among adolescents.

Methods

Using the MBSAQIP database, we identified adolescent (< 19 years old) patients who underwent either sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass from 2015 – 2017. The overall prevalence and the percentage of the general bariatric population was compared by year, and regression analysis was performed to identify the patient and provider characteristics most commonly identified in adolescents compared to the general bariatric population.

Results

A total of 2,141 adolescent bariatric weight loss procedures were performed from 2015 – 2017. Both the total number of adolescent bariatric surgical procedures and the percentage of bariatric surgical procedures performed in adolescents increased in a linear fashion during this time (R2=0.9974, p=0.036). On regression analysis, adolescent bariatric patients were more likely to be male (OR=1.93, p<0.001) and less likely to be African American (OR=0.767, p=0.007) compared to general bariatric patients. They also had a significantly higher BMI and were more likely to undergo sleeve (OR=1.398, p=0.009), rather than bypass

Conclusions

While adolescent obesity represents a rare indication for bariatric surgery, its prevalence is increasing. Further research is warranted into the changing practice patterns surrounding adolescent bariatric surgery, including its safety and effectiveness in this population, as well as disparities in the availability of adolescent bariatric surgical care.