Background

With the increasing rates of obesity and its comorbidities occurring in younger ages, the use of bariatric surgery has increased in adolescents. However, limited research has examined the impact of age on bariatric surgery pre-operative presentation or post-operative course. Data on 4,235 patients who underwent index bariatric procedures in 2017 was extracted from the MBSAQIP PUF. Pre and post-operative variables in 289 adolescents (age: 13-17.99; mean 16.73; SD = 1.04) were compared to 3,946 young adults (age: 18 - 22.99; mean 20.90; SD = 1.42). No statistically significant differences were seen in pre-operative Body Mass Index (BMI) closest to surgery (46.69 in adolescents vs 47.26 in young adults) or highest recorded BMI (48.38 in adolescents vs 48.95 in young adults) between groups. More Hispanics underwent surgery as adolescents than young adults (29.4% vs 20.2%; p = .01). 14.5% of adolescents were on treatment for diabetes versus 9.7% of young adults (p<.05). Over 20% of adolescents had obstructive sleep apnea versus 14.7% of young adults (p<.05). Young adults had a greater number of visits for treatment of dehydration and visits to the emergency department. Bariatric surgery is often seen as the treatment of last resort for adolescents. These findings suggest that adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery do not have increased risk of post-operative complications and may have a less complicated post-operative course. However, their pre-operative presentation may be more impaired with a greater impact of diabetes treatment and obstructive sleep apnea suggesting a need for earlier, and more intense, intervention.