According to a study presented at the American Society for Bariatric Surgery meeting in San Diego this week, adolescents are less likely to suffer complications from obesity surgery than adults.

The researchers compared postsurgical complications in 55,000 obese patients age 18 and older who had bariatric surgery for weight loss with 309 obese patients ages 12 to 18 who underwent the procedure.

The results showed that 6% of the adolescents had complications within 30 days of surgery, none of them fatal. By comparison, 10% of the adults experienced complications, 0.2% fatal.

“There’s always been the concern of doing big operations in kids precisely because of the potential complications,” says Esteban Varela, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Varela says that for obese adolescents who have exhausted other treatment options, this type of surgery appears to be a safe and effective option to lose weight, and these younger patients tolerate the surgery better than adults.

Complications included wound infections, reopening of the surgical site, bleeding, pneumonia, and heart complications.

[Yahoo News, June 14, 2007]