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Stomach Banding Surgery Effective for Adolescents

Lap band surgery appears to be an effective procedure to combat obesity in adolescents,// according to a new study conducted at NYU Medical Center. It is the first study to evaluate the lap band in patients under the age of 17, and it revealed that patients on average lost about 50% of their excess weight by one year after surgery. The study is published in the January issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Currently, the lap band device is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adults.

NYU Medical Center is one of three sites currently approved by the FDA to study the efficacy of the gastric band in adolescent patients. To date, NYU physicians have the most experience with gastric banding procedures in adolescent patients in the United States.

Lap band surgery was performed on 53 morbidly obese adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the study. Most of the patients were girls. People are considered morbidly obese when their body mass index is at 40 or above, usually about 100 pounds overweight.

The patients in the study had a history of obesity for at least 5 years and many had conditions commonly found in obese adults such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea. They had also tried unsuccessfully to lose weight on numerous diet and exercise regimens, including medically supervised weight loss, according to the study. All of the adolescents were screened by a psychologist to ensure that they would comply with the study protocol.

“This study suggests that the lap band provides a safer and equally effective weight loss strategy compared to the gastric bypass,” said Evan Nadler, M.D., Director of Pediatric Minimally Invasive Surgery and Assistant Professor of Surgery at New York University School of Medicine, who is the lead author of the study. “This is good news for parents contemplating obesity surgery for their adolescent children. The bypass has serious risks
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