February 17, 2017 – Deciding on Surgery


Anchor lead: What needs to be considered before bariatric surgery in a teenager? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Two recent studies on bariatric surgery in teenagers have shown that over several years of follow-up, weight loss for most did persist as well as improvements in things like blood pressure and blood lipids.  Kimberley Steele, bariatric surgeon and Director of Adolescent Bariatric Surgery at Johns Hopkins, says this is great news for those considering surgery, but she urges everyone to take a conservative approach.

Steele: I think it’s very important not to jump straight to bariatric surgery. For parents and pediatricians its important to take a step back and try the traditional methods first: lifestyle intervention, medications if we need, behavioral interventions and exercise. If after an attempt all of those are failing and that adolescent is having difficulty with activities of daily living, with worsening of the medical comorbidities, then bariatric surgery should be considered. :32

Steele is working with other Hopkins specialists to open a comprehensive wellness and weight loss center for overweight and obese children and adolescents. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.