The following is a summary of “Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Assess Body Composition Change in Adolescents With Obesity After Sleeve Gastrectomy” published in the December 2022 issue of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition by Berg et al.

Metabolic and bariatric surgery are the best ways for severely obese people to lose weight. As a result, more and more teenagers are getting a sleeve gastrectomy. Researchers used whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) to examine the bodies of teens who had sleeve gastrectomy 12–26 weeks after the surgery. This prospective cohort study looked at changes in adipose tissue compartments (i.e., visceral, subcutaneous, and intermuscular) and muscle in 18 obese teenagers ages 14–19, 89% of whom were female, with a body mass index z-score of 2.6±0.25. (range 2.16–3.2). They all had a WB-MRI 1.5–17 weeks before surgery and again 12–26 weeks after surgery.

Before and after surgery, WB-MRI showed that all of the fat tissue compartments and the fat in the skeletal muscle and liver had shrunk (P<0.0001). The percentage of fat lost in the subcutaneous, visceral, and intermuscular compartments after surgery (89.0%, 5.8%, and 5.2%, respectively) was similar to what it was before surgery (90.5%, 5%, and 4.5%, respectively). Notably, people with obstructive sleep apnea had significantly more subcutaneous and intermuscular adipose tissue before surgery than people without obstructive sleep apnea (P=0.003).

Researchers found that, contrary to what is said to happen in adults, the pre-operative percentage loss of adipose tissue in subcutaneous, visceral, and intermuscular compartments was similar to the post-operative percentage loss of adipose tissue in the same compartments in adolescents 12–26 weeks after sleeve gastrectomy.