A new research has shown that doctors do not recommend bariatric surgery for obese patients under the age of 18.
Researchers surveyed a national random sample of paediatricians and family physicians for their opinions on referring adolescents for bariatric surgery.
They found half of these physicians would not consider it for adolescent patients.
"We still have a lot to learn about the long term effects of bariatric surgery among adolescents. But recent studies suggest that it can be helpful to improve the health outcomes of severely obese adolescents," said Susan Woolford, medical director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center at the University of Michigan.
"Physicians worry whether the risks will outweigh the benefits. How long adolescents will be able to sustain the weight loss and what the psychological outcomes would be in their future, are questions that are still being explored. If findings are similar to those in adults, there could be significant weight loss and health benefits," Woolford added.
The study also found almost all physicians endorsed participation in a monitored weight loss program as a prerequisite for bariatric surgery, though the minimum suggested duration for participation varied from three months to over 5 years.
The study has been published in Obesity Surgery.