Excess skin problems among adolescents after bariatric surgery

S. Christopher Derderian, Lindel C. Dewberry, Luke Patten, Thomas J. Sitzman, Alexander M. Kaizer, Todd M. Jenkins, Marc P. Michalsky, Changchun Xie, James E. Mitchell, Thomas Inge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Bariatric surgery results in significant and durable weight loss and improved health in severely obese adolescents. An important adverse consequence of the massive weight loss after bariatric surgery is excess skin and soft tissue. The prevalence and clinical characteristics of excess skin–related symptoms have been described in adults undergoing bariatric surgery but not in adolescents. Although the higher skin elasticity of adolescents may result in fewer excess skin problems compared with adults, this hypothesis remains untested. Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to describe the natural history of excess skin and its associated complications among severely obese adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery. Setting: University Hospitals, United States. Methods: We evaluated data from the Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery cohort, a prospective, multiinstitutional study of adolescents (13–19 yr) undergoing bariatric surgery. Abdominal pannus severity (graded 0–5) and excess skin symptoms were evaluated preoperatively and for the first 5 years after bariatric surgery. Results: Among the 217 study participants, 198 (90%) had an abdominal pannus and 16 (7%) reported pannus-related symptoms at the time of bariatric surgery. Preoperative symptoms included intertriginous infections (n = 12, 75%), recurrent cellulitis (n = 5, 31%), and superficial cutaneous ulcerations (n = 1, 6%). Participants with a higher pannus grade preoperatively experienced both a greater reduction in pannus severity (P < .0001) and a higher incidence of pannus-related symptoms (P = .002) postoperatively. Changes in pannus severity occurred during the first 24 months after bariatric surgery; mean pannus severity remained unchanged beyond 24 months. Conclusions: Severely obese adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery often present with an abdominal pannus at the time of surgery with associated symptoms. Higher preoperative pannus grade is associated with more pannus related symptoms after surgery. Counseling about need for body contouring surgery should be considered in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-998
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adolescent bariatric surgery
  • Excess skin
  • Pannus symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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