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Frequently Asked Questions about Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

1. What treatments are effective?

Weight loss surgery can cure morbid obesity in adults.   Adolescent bariatric surgery can provide an early and effective tool for the patient to help prevent serious health problems later.

2. Has surgery been successful for teens who are obese?

Yes. The rate of teenage obesity surgery has increased threefold over the past decade. There have been more than 5,000 adolescent bariatric cases performed as of 2004. This rise in use of surgery is a realization that surgery does work for weight loss and that surgery can reverse significant health problems.

3. Can weight loss surgery be used to treat type 2 diabetes in teens?

Yes. Research has shown significant treatment results for diabetic adults and in teens. Teens with type 2 diabetes, who do not undergo surgery, are highly likely to remain severely obese and are likely to see progression of their diabetes. Extremely obese diabetic teens stand to benefit greatly from gastric bypass and can see significant weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes due to the surgery.

4. How do I enroll in the program?

First we need your primary healthcare provider to forward your complete medical record. You then should contact the Bariatric Center to enroll in a free Adolescent Information Session which will outline all of the requirements of the program as well as your insurance requirements. Your medical records should include the following information:

  • Your current height and weight
  • A history of conditions being treated
  • Diagnostic testing that has been done
  • History of weight loss attempts

These records are reviewed by our clinical team to help determine if weight loss surgery may be an option for you.

5. Does insurance cover this weight loss surgery?

Insurance coverage varies by provider and plan. Contact your insurance provider's customer service department to determine what benefits your child has under your plan. Our family financial advocate can also assist patients and their families.

6. How long until I can return to work or school?

This varies by individual, but a hospital stay is typically three to five days for a laparoscopic procedure.  The stay may be longer if an open procedure is required. Some patients are able to return to work or school in one to two weeks, depending upon the amount of physical activity required. Recovery time may be extended on an individual basis.

7. What kind of diet will I have following surgery?

Patients begin on a liquid diet and progress to a pureed diet, then to a soft diet, and eventually to a regular diet. Patients move through these stages in varying periods during the year following surgery.  Patients will continue to be under close management by program dietitians and surgeons.

8. What qualifies someone for weight loss surgery?

A teen must meet the following criteria (meeting these criteria does NOT necessarily mean that weight loss surgery is right for you) in order to be considered for weight loss surgery:

  • Body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40 (generally more than 120 pounds over ideal weight) with obesity-related health problems (obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, significant quality of life or mobility problems).
  • Inadequate weight loss with organized weight loss attempts