Background: In the US, obesity continues to be a severe health issue now affecting adolescents. Bariatric surgery remains the most effective treatment for obesity, but use among adolescents remains low. The objective of this study was to identify current national trends in bariatric surgery among adolescents. Study Design: Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, adolescents aged 9 to 19 with a diagnosis of morbid obesity who underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (SG) between 2015 and 2018 were identified. Demographics, comorbidities, and in-hospital complications were collected. National estimates were calculated. The trend of annual number of operations was determined by Kruskal-Wallis rank test. Results: Between 2015 and 2018, 1,203 adolescents were identified, resulting in a nationwide estimate of 4,807 bariatric cases. The number of bariatric operations increased annually from 1,360 in 2015 to 1,740 operations in 2018 (p = 0.0771). The majority of patients were female (76%), 17 to 19 years old (84.1%), and White (47.9%). Most patients underwent SG (82.0%). Black and Hispanic patients comprised 40.2% of the cohort. Significant comorbidities included diabetes, dyslipidemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hypertension, and sleep apnea. The average length of stay decreased from 2.12 days to 1.64 days. There were no in-hospital mortalities, and complications were less than 1%. Conclusions: With the increasing prevalence of obesity among adolescents in the US, bariatric surgery increased over time but was performed less in patients younger than 16 years of age and racial minorities. Bariatric surgery among adolescents remains safe, with extremely low complication rates and zero in-hospital mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


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