Utilization Trends and Disparities in Adolescent Bariatric Surgery in the United States 2009-2017

Megan E. Bouchard*, Yao Tian, Samuel Linton, Christopher De Boer, Ann O'Connor, Hassan Ghomrawi, Fizan Abdullah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Current reports of adolescent bariatric surgery underutilization for treating severe obesity do not comprehensively assess the extent of existing disparities. We sought to describe national trends in adolescent bariatric surgery over a 9-year period and investigate previously described ethnoracial-, insurance-, income-, and geographic-based disparities. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of adolescents aged 10-19 years who underwent bariatric surgery from 2009 to 2017 was conducted using Healthcare Cost and Utilization Kids' Inpatient Database and National Inpatient Sample Databases. Annual rates and types of bariatric surgery were assessed using trend analysis and stratified by patient, hospital, and regional characteristics. Results: The rate of bariatric surgeries per 1,000,000 adolescents with severe obesity increased over time (227 cases in 2009 to 331cases in 2017). Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and gastric band significantly decreased (p < 0.001), while sleeve gastrectomy became the most commonly performed bariatric surgery (p < 0.001). Surgeries were increasingly performed in urban teaching hospitals (77.9%) and most commonly in the Northeast (34.4%) and South (40.9%). The proportion of black patients (12.1%-15.8%) undergoing bariatric surgery increased, although was not significant and remained below that of white patients (p = 0.06). The proportion of publicly insured patients undergoing bariatric surgery significantly increased (17.0% to 30.7%, p < 0.001), although no changes were observed based on median household income. Conclusions: Over the study period, utilization of adolescent bariatric surgery has increased. Yet, vulnerable populations, who have the highest rates of severe obesity, continue to undergo bariatric surgery at disproportionately lower rates. Further efforts to address disparities and barriers to care are urgently needed to care for these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • adolescents
  • bariatric surgery
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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