Physicians debate bariatric surgery as “last best hope” for obese teens

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In a nearly 1,900-word article, the New York Times (2/24, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reported that as the number of “severely obese” teenagers has “nearly doubled” between 1999 and 2014, “more and more” physicians “and parents are facing a difficult question: Should very heavy teenagers have bariatric surgery, a radical operation that is the only treatment proved to produce lasting weight loss in severely obese people?” The Times stated that surgery is the “last best hope” for a number of these teens, although “scientists say there’s an urgent need for more ambitious research.” According to the Times, “The question for teens and their parents is: Which is worse – accepting uncertainty about the long term health risks from surgery or the likelihood of serious health risks from remaining obese?”

This article seems to be generating controversy due to the teens being the subject matter.  I think people are missing the boat. Why would the commentary apply only to teens?  The basic bottom line is that the decision discussed is just as pertinent for the parents considering the implications of the article, as well as their grandparents and their doctors for that matter.  Anyone who is obese.

Patients with obesity regardless of age are faced with tough choices.  The devil you know: death and disability from obesity related causes as well as a degradation in quality of life vs. the unknown: surgery and it’s possible complications.

Seems a much more simple choice for those of us who work in the field becaiuse we live the reality every day, but one which MUST be made by the individual.

Do the research.  Look at the Math. There are VERY FEW reasons NOT to pursue surgery.

It’s up to you.

Call us, We can help!

Dr Bertha and the NJBI Team