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XX Brazilian Bariatric Surgery Congress

Psycho-social outcomes on bariatric adolescent patients

At least 27% of the youngsters suffer either from anxiety or depression after undergoing surgery

Dr Torsten Olbers is a professor of surgery and consultant bariatric surgeon at University of Linkoping in Sweden. His national and international reputation stems from combining a busy clinical activity with continuous academic productivity. As a regularly invited lecturer at international conferences, he has contributed to development of bariatric surgery worldwide and highlighted this at the XX Brazilian Congress on Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.  

Torsten Olbers

In his lecture, he spoke about the psycho-social outcomes on bariatric adolescent patients. Based on his group studies, it was stated that at least 27% of the youngsters suffer either from anxiety or depression after undergoing surgery, a fact that calls attention for the importance of accompaniment on the post operation period. He said that, after five years, there has always been an improvement in the self-esteem of his patients. However, reports of mental health problems have occurred.

“Therefore, it is mandatory to have a follow-up by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, nutritionists and therapists after at least 18 months to two years to give the adequate support to these patients,” he explained.

Professor Olbers is also the main author of the AMOS (Adolescents Morbid Obesity Studies), a comparative study between 81 patients operated, 81 patients non-operated and 81 adult patients, detailed with the importance of family support for the post-operation. Surgical intervention was associated with a high rate of additional surgical intervention and nutritional deficiencies.

“What these surgeries do not fix is the anxiety or depression rebound, or the dissatisfaction with their body appearance, and it may be the cause of osteoporosis, anemia, alcohol problems and suicide,” he added.

In his conclusion, there were confirmed improvements on weight, metabolic and mental health: “The literature base now appears sufficiently mature to consider formal integration of bariatric surgery into treatment pathways for adolescents with severe obesity. However, we consider it crucial that adolescent bariatric surgery is performed within appropriate specialist multidisciplinary programmes, designed specifically to accommodate adolescent patients and provide long-term follow-up and support. Future challenges include refining indications and contraindications, identifying ideal target age groups, and optimization of postoperative support. We must also closely monitor for potential long-term adverse effects of surgery, across decades rather than years.”

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