NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Controversial obesity surgery for children and teens has become a growing trend.

But a new study finds that surgery may be about much more than kids losing weight.

As CBS 2’S Dr. Max Gomez reported Wednesday, it could also heal sick hearts.

In a recent study in the journal Pediatric Surgery, researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio did sophisticated tests on the hearts of teenagers about to undergo obesity surgery.

“What we found was that the cardiac structure and function in these extremely obese adolescents scheduled for bariatric surgery was much more impaired than one might have thought,” said John Bauer, PhD with Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Ohio State doctors did cardiac MRIs on teen patients and followed 10 of them for a recent study.

They found many had hearts that look like those of middle-aged patients. But after weight loss surgery, that changed.

“Many of the abnormalities that we documented during the initial baseline study actually showed significant improvement after the weight loss had been obtained,” Dr. Marc Michalsky, MD of Nationwide Children’s Hospital said.

In fact, the study found that enlarged hearts got smaller and blood flow improved in all the patients. In 60 percent of patients, blood flow completely normalized, Gomez reported.


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