Another Growth Industry by Pat Conrad MD

So who knew that Krispy Kreme’s would be a big hit in Sweden? (trick question: Krispy Kreme doughnuts are a hit everywhere with everyone, me included).

Two complimentary studies in the U.S. and Sweden show long-term weight reduction from gastric bypass surgery in teenagers, with cohorts of 58 and 81, respectively. Most of the subjects had reductions in their blood pressure and cholesterol, and the incidence of diabetes was reduced.

“Yet most of the patients remained at least ‘very obese’, and only one stabilized at a normal weight.”

The Swedish study celebrates their post-surgical kids losing an average of 28%, compared to negligible reductions in obese non-surgical controls.

“Negative side effects, including vitamin deficiencies and the need in some cases for follow-up surgery, were minor compared to health gains, scientists reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a medical journal.”

From “Until now, it has been unclear how successful the surgery is in the long-term and whether it can lead to complications. Despite this thousands of teenagers are offered the surgical treatment each year.”

Thousands?? Who is paying for this? What about the underlying psychosocial pathologies that resulted in these morbid obesities? What long-term costs are these post-ops going to incur with recurrent anemia, vitamin deficiencies, ER visits for recurrent pancreatitis or chronic abdominal pain, not to mention the real and intangible costs of undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and extended periods of newly-permitted sedentary living?

I have never seen a patient who actually became healthier – even with weight loss – as a result of this procedure. If its popular acceptability for minors is really on the rise, then that is a depressing piece of news. As a wise colleague remarked to me some years ago about this non-fix, “You are taking the one organ system shown to be functioning properly, and screwing it up.”

94880cookie-checkAnother Growth Industry by Pat Conrad MD