Skinny Daily Post


Last year, the FDA announced that it would allow extremely obese children [teenagers] to be included in clinical trials for the lapband. And now, it looks as if some results are starting to come out of the trials. Here’s a news report – with mixed reviews.

NYU has reported that the 53 teens have lost an average of half of their excess weight over the past year, and that’s truly excellent, considering that their average weight was 297 pounds at the beginning! So, assuming that they should weigh an average of, oh, 125 pounds, they were an average of 175 pounds overweight, which means they’d lost an average of 87 pounds over the year – spectacular weight loss, IMO, even though we are talking about averages here. [and, thanks to eagle-eyed readers, I’ve corrected the math – with many apologies!]

In any event, as we all know, whether or not these teens can maintain their weight loss is one of the two really big questions. The other really big question is whether there are any long-term consequences to their health related to the surgery. The lapband doesn’t have the malabsorption that the gastric bypass does, but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of other issues. In fact, 2 of the patients had iron deficiency. Assuming these cases were girls, they’re looking at a long span of fertility, and they’re going to need some careful management – and compliance.

And the overall reported complication rate seems high to me – 23 of the 53 had some issue or other.

Of course, bottom line, unless these teens change their lives, as we all have to, it won’t work over the long haul.

In any event, the clinical trial is being expanded to other centers in the US, with lots of caveats.

As with WLS in adults, it’s not a quick fix, and it’s not an easy decision. But, just how do we decide who qualifies and who doesn’t? Does a 300-pound 15-year-old with no comorbidities need to try just one more time? Or not.

I don’t pretend to have the answers here – but my hope is that one day, WLS of any kind won’t be needed.

3 thoughts on “Lapbanded teenagers

  1. Brenda says:

    Shocking numbers! Check your math in the second paragraph.

    [note from jane – thank you – made the correction]

  2. cindy says:

    I think that there is a different answer for every person who is struggling with their weight. Having this surgery available as an option gives someone a choice. Ultimately, everyone must find their own way through this, however. There is no magic pill. What works for you wouldn’t work for me. My plan wouldn’t work for someone else…its just the way it is. This surgery is a band-aid for the real problem, though. It might work for a given individual, but if we are to solve the problem of obesity in this country, we need a better system over all. And it should start with children and families. Turn off the TV, get out and exercise, and eat well-prepared meals, preferably at home, together. That’s a start!

  3. Susan says:

    Jane – weren’t the teenagers an average of 175 pounds overweight (assuming an ideal weight of 125 – pretty low!), not 275 pounds overweight? So if they lost half of their excess weight in a year, wouldn’t it be 87 pounds? Not 137?

    Just want to be sure we all are on the same pages with our math!


    [note from JAne – oh geez – susan is SO right – just chalk it up to the late night and the alzheimers mom talking to me while i was writing! sorry about that.]

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