Weight-loss surgery: Safe for kids?

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Weight-loss surgery: Safe for kids?

Question

Is weight-loss surgery safe for children?

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Answer

Weight-loss surgery can be a safe and effective option for some severely obese adolescents who have been unable to lose weight using conventional weight-loss methods. However, as with any type of surgery, there are potential risks and long-term complications. Also, the long-term effects of weight-loss surgery on a child's future growth and development are largely unknown.

Weight-loss surgery in adolescents is still uncommon. But your doctor may recommend this surgery if your child's weight poses a greater health threat than the potential risks of surgery. It is important that a child being considered for weight-loss surgery meet with a team of pediatric specialists, including a pediatric endocrinologist.

Keep in mind that weight-loss surgery isn't an easy answer for weight loss. It doesn't guarantee that your child will lose all of his or her excess weight or that your child will keep the weight off long term. Also, it doesn't replace the long-term need for a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

Last Updated: 05/01/2006
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