Using Weight Loss Surgery to Treat Obese Adolescents

Submitted by Stony Brook Surgery on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:19

Our Success with Bariatric Surgery in Teens Is in Giving Them Back a Normal Life


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Our patient Kristen Valenti six months post-op having lost 67 pounds. Click on image below to watch the News 12 L.I. video of her weight loss story.

The Stony Brook Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center has received its renewed accreditation as a Comprehensive Center for Adolescents from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

This is good news, as the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6-19) has obesity.

MBSAQIP accreditation demonstrates our Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center's commitment to delivering the highest-quality care for bariatric surgery patients.

Our center was the first MBSAQIP-accredited comprehensive bariatric center in our community.

Aurora D. Pryor, MD, professor of surgery and chief of our Bariatric, Foregut, and Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgery Division, who is the center's director, says:

"With the renewal of both adolescent and adult MBSAQIP accreditations, the Stony Brook Metabolic and Bariatric Weight Loss Center has been recognized for excellence in the comprehensive delivery of care for obesity and the metabolic syndrome, for adolescents and adult patients alike.

"As noted during the recent accreditation visit, our center has been outperforming the national average in terms of safety and patient risk. This is a testament to our multidisciplinary approach to patient safety and commitment to excellent patient- and family-centered care."

To earn MBSAQIP accreditation, Stony Brook University Hospital met the essential criteria that ensure its ability to support a bariatric surgical care program and measure up to the institutional performance requirements outlined by the MBSAQIP accreditation standards.

About Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is growing at an epidemic rate, along with that of adults. More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nationwide, 23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls.

Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or well-being. As methods to determine body fat directly are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on body mass index, known as BMI.

Since 1980, the childhood obesity rates (ages 2 to 19) have tripled — with the rates of obese 6- to 11-year-olds more than doubling (from 7% to 17.5%) and rates of obese adolescents (ages 12 to 19) quadrupling from 5% to 20.5%.

One out of every six adolescents ages 12 to 19 is overweight, and one out of every three is at risk.

In Suffolk County alone, there are more than 5,000 obese students in middle and high school.

Commenting on obesity in adolescents and the benefit of bariatric surgery, Konstantinos Spaniolas, MD, associate professor surgery and new member of our Bariatric, Foregut, and Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgery Division, says:

"Obesity and associated diseases (metabolic, psychologic, orthopedic, etc.) have a deleterious effect in adolescents with severe future cardiovascular risks. It is likely that an early intervention in this age group can disrupt the progression of disease, and lead to long-lasting benefit.

"Recent published evidence demonstrates profound and sustained weight loss in adolescents that is maintained at least 3 years after metabolic surgery. Importantly, 95% of adolescents with type 2 diabetes experience lasting remission at 3 years."

At present, weight loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity.

Obesity most commonly begins between the ages of 5 and 6, or during adolescence. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult.

Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks.

Therefore, the American College of Surgeons believes it is of utmost importance to extend its quality initiatives to accrediting bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist the public in identifying those facilities that provide optimal surgical care for patients who undergo this surgical procedure.

In 2014, Stony Brook Medicine was first granted full accreditation as a comprehensive bariatric facility by the MBSAQIP, then a newly established program of the American College of Surgeons and American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Every member of our large multidisciplinary team is committed to our program, and this commitment is the key of our success. We are all extremely proud of the work we do, and proud of this ongoing recognition by the MBSAQIP.


Individualized assessment and care are crucial for the long-term success of weight loss treatment. At Stony Brook Medicine, our bariatric specialists welcome any pediatric/adolescent patient over the age of 13 for evaluation.

With the close involvement of specialized pediatricians, dieticians, and psychologists, a thorough assessment of patient and family allows for proper guidance.

We offer the full gamut of weight loss options, and many patients will be successful with lifestyle and behavioral modification alone. Bariatric surgery or other interventions are sometimes offered to further assist with weight loss and control of co-existing medical problems.

For consultations/appointments with our bariatric specialists, please call 631-444-BARI (2274). Click on the image below to watch the News 12 L.I. video of the weight loss story of 15-year-old Kristen Valenti treated by our team:

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