Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding in Adolescents: The Austrian Experience

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Morbid obesity is a rising problem in adolescents in the industrial nations. Up to 25% of children have a body mass index (BMI) higher than the 85th age- and sex-adjusted percentile. Obesity in youth is associated with increased risk for morbidity and mortality in adulthood. In addition, these patients suffer from psychological problems and decreased quality of life. Bariatric procedures have shown effective long-term results in adults, but they are still discussed controversially in adolescent patients.


Between 1998 and 2004, 50 adolescent patients with a mean age of 17.1±2.2 years (range 9-19 years) underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) in Austria. The psychological changes were analyzed by using Moorehead-Ardelt/BAROS questionnaire.


The mean BMI decreased from 45.2±7.6 kg/m2 at time of surgery to 32.6±6.8 kg/m2 after a mean follow-up of 34.7±17.5 months. The mean excess weight loss was 61.4±35.5%. Most of the adolescents showed remarkable improvements in their quality of life. The outcome was regarded as "excellent or very good" in 32 patients, "good" in 12 patients and "fair" in 5 patients. Only one patient noticed no alterations after surgery. Two-thirds of the preoperative co-morbidities resolved, and one-third improved during follow-up. Except for one port dislocation, no peri- or postoperative complications arose. Conclusion: LAGB is an effective and attractive treatment option in very carefully selected obese adolescents, because of its adjustability and the preservation of the gastrointestinal passage. The majority of patients showed a remarkable improvement in their quality of life.

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