Bariatric Surgery Will Help Obese Youngsters With Mental Health Issues

No meaningful difference seen in the amount of weight lost between them and teens without mental health issues.

As might be expected, psychiatric diagnoses such as depression and anxiety are prevalent among adolescents with severe anxiety. That should not disqualify them from getting sleeve gastrectomy surgery, says a study in JAMA Pediatrics. Such adolescents are likely to lose the same amount of weight regardless of any mental health problems.

The surgery shrinks the stomach down to the size of a banana and doctors historically were concerned that people with cognitive or mood disorders were poor candidates for the procedure, commonly referred to as bariatric surgery, because the patients might not follow strict dietary rules afterward.

Researchers looked at data about 222 teens who’d had psychological evaluations before the operation. Using longitudinal modeling, researchers with the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., looked at weight loss outcomes between three and 12 months after surgery.

Among the 169 teens who had the surgery, researchers found no meaningful difference in weight loss between teens with and without mental health issues.

“The presurgical psychological evaluation serves as an opportunity to identify adolescents experiencing psychiatric problems and provide them with care but should not necessarily be considered a contraindication to surgery,” the study concludes.