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Safety and Effectiveness of Weight Loss Operations for Children Featured on New Recovery Room Podcast

Host Dr. Rick Greene interviews a bariatric surgeon expert about special considerations for young patients, including how to find a qualified facility


CHICAGO (May 22, 2015): The Recovery Room, a podcast produced by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), has released a new episode addressing how bariatric operations effectively treat  obesity in pediatric and adolescent patients. While it is well established that weight loss surgical procedures are effective and can reduce the associated illnesses brought on by obesity in adults, the question is less clear when it comes to younger patients.

Approximately 17 percent of the pediatric and adolescent populations are considered obese. Obesity in children is related to other maladies including diabetes, hypertension, liver disease and cardiac ailments.1

In the new episode, host Dr. Rick Greene speaks with Marc P. Michalsky, MD, FACS, director of bariatric surgery and surgical director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, to shed light on important issues related to bariatric surgery and children.

The episode is available for download online.

“Anyone with a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or higher…means that you are, by definition, a candidate at least to have a conversation about surgical intervention,” Dr. Michalsky said. “When you look at groups of individuals who are in this very high category of body mass index, the more conventional, nonsurgical methods of weight loss tend to work much less successfully.”

Dr. Michalsky said the conclusion thus far is that weight loss operations are safe and effective in children. However, other questions arise about the ability of children to do well in school after such an operation, and the impact on a possible future pregnancy in female patients. An important decision must also be made in choosing the right facility with qualified surgeons for a weight loss procedure.

“Adolescent bariatric surgery is a relatively young and emerging field of surgical intervention, and I think what has happened over the last one to two decades is we’ve been fortunate enough to develop a generally accepted consensus that adolescent bariatric surgery really needs to be administered through a multidisciplinary approach,” Dr. Michalsky said.

Dr. Michalsky also noted that the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the ACS and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, has developed for the first time a separate designation for centers performing adolescent bariatric surgery.

The Recovery Room host Frederick (Rick) Greene, MD, FACS, is medical director of the Cancer Data Registry at the Levine Cancer Institute, Charlotte, NC, and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) who has been involved in organizational work focused on cancer for many years. The show is produced by Tena Simmons in a public radio-compatible format. Current and past episodes can be downloaded at no charge through the College’s website.

1 Feldstein AE, Patton-Ku D, Boutelle KN. Obesity, Nutrition and Liver Disease in Children. Clinics in liver disease. 2014;18(1):219-231.

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About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit


Dan Hamilton
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