Teen obesity surgery should only happen when necessary, says health centre
Share article:
Share article:

Teen obesity surgery should only happen when necessary, says health centre

Obesity is increasing worldwide and concerns 3 to 5% of Belgium’s children and adolescents. Credit: Belga

The Federal Centre of Expertise for Healthcare (KCE) recommends that obesity surgery among youth under 18 be practiced only “in case of absolute medical necessity” and that the reimbursement of such interventions “remain quite exceptional,” it said in a report released on Thursday.

Meanwhile, obesity is increasing worldwide and concerns 3 to 5% of Belgium’s children and adolescents. 

Obesity surgery, also known as “bariatric and metabolic surgery”, is reimbursed by Belgian health insurance since 2007 for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 (morbid obesity), or 35 (severely obese) if the person has type 2 diabetes.

However, health authorities are considering the expansion of the reimbursement of such procedure to other target groups, including young people under 18. Which is why the KCE was to examine, in collaboration with the Inter-Mutual Agency, the efficacy, risks and complications, and cost-effectiveness of these surgical operations. 

“For the majority of surgical patients, bariatric surgery allows (…) to lose almost 18 kilos more than from a non-surgical treatment during the first year and up to 28 kilograms after two years,” it would seem, in particular from the KCE analysis. 

In 2016, more than 13,000 weight-loss operations were performed in Belgium, an increase of over 80% over the last seven years. 

Teenagers represent 3 to 5% of the patients. They are mostly between 16 and 17 years old with severe or morbid obesity, often associated with high blood pressure or diabetes. 

“Bariatric surgery allows young people similar weight losses as for adults. We must be careful, however, in this regard because there are not many good quality studies on these and it is from international data from specialized hospitals, which is not necessarily applicable to less experienced teams,” KCE noted, underlining that such procedures were performed on adolescents who had (almost) finished growing. 

“The reimbursement of bariatric surgery for adolescents should remain quite exceptional. As long as there is no reliable scientific evidence for this type of patients, these operations should be performed only in the case of a major medical need, by multidisciplinary teams and in specialized centres,” KCE insisted.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...