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An epidemic increase in adolescent obesity in the United States has resulted in significant obesity-related comorbidities, previously seen only in adults. Although bariatric surgery is an acceptable alternative for weight loss in severely obese adults, no conclusions have been made about the appropriateness of bariatric surgery for individuals younger than 18 years old. Nonetheless, bariatric surgery is increasingly being performed on adolescents with clinically severe obesity and experience suggests that it is effective and safe. Application of the principles of adolescent growth, development, and compliance is essential to avoid adverse physical, cognitive, and psychosocial outcomes following bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery should be part of a multidisciplinary approach to the management of adolescents with clinically severe obesity and should be performed by specialists dedicated to pediatric care, in institutions capable of meeting the guidelines for surgical treatment outlined by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery.

(C) 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.