Adolescent Loss of Adipose Tissue Similar Before and After Weight-Loss Procedure

Joel E Lavine MD

The percentage of adipose tissue loss, or body fat, is relatively the same before and after adolescents undergo sleeve gastrectomy, according to a September 6, 2022, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition study.

A sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight loss procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. The surgery limits the amount of food the patient can eat and prompts hormonal changes to help with weight loss. The study used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the changes in adipose tissue compartments in obese adolescents ages 14 to 19. It measured the tissue before the surgery and 12 to 26 weeks afterward. 

Both the pre-operative and post-operative MRIs showed a decrease in adipose tissue. Pre-op decreases in adipose tissue in the subcutaneous region (under the skin) were 90.5 percent, compared with 89 percent post-operative. Decreases in adipose tissue in the visceral compartments were 5 percent pre-op and 5.8 percent post-op. Decreases in adipose tissue in the intermuscular components were 4.5 percent pre-op and 5.2 percent after the operation.

The results differ from those in similar studies with adults.

Dr. Joel Lavine, Professor at Columbia University, was one of the authors of the paper and a study leader. Joel Lavine, MD, is a tenured professor and experienced researcher in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons there.

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