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About Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

Tufts Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program helps adolescents and young adults struggling with obesity lose weight using a combination of medical and surgical approaches. We asked Artur Chernoguz, MD about how adolescent surgery differs from adult and how to know what the best option is for adolescents struggling with obesity.

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery helps patients lose weight by altering the size of the stomach and/or its connections to the intestine. This helps patients feel full with smaller amounts of food and lose more weight than lifestyle and diet modification alone.

How much weight will I lose after bariatric surgery?

The amount of weight lost after bariatric surgery differs from person to person and depends on a number of factors. On average, adolescents lose 26-28% of their weight after bariatric surgery.

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. Is bariatric surgery a “quick fix”?

Bariatric surgery requires a big commitment by the patients and their families. In order for the surgery to be safely performed, the patients must be willing to follow the recommendations of the Bariatric Program specialists and attend all the necessary visits before and after the operation. Bariatric surgery is a major change in a person’s lifestyle and is not a quick fix. However, it is an investment in the future health of a person.

What are some of the requirements for an adolescent to qualify for this surgery?

To qualify as a candidate for weight loss surgery, adolescents must generally meet the following criteria: 

  • 10 - 19 years old
  • Severe obesity: BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 or 120% of the 95th percentile on the growth chart with significant obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) 
    or
  • Severe obesity: BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 or 140% of the 95th percentile on the growth chart
  • Willingness and ability to complete the work-up and attend all the required visits before and after surgery
  • Ability to understand surgery and participate in the care required after surgery, including dietary restrictions and vitamin supplementation
  • Have a committed support system
  • Obtain a health clearance from the bariatric surgery team 

What is the process like for having surgery? 

The program begins by meeting with our multidisciplinary team, which will assess the patient to ensure that they are a good candidate for surgery. Over the next several months we will work with you to ensure that the surgery can be safely performed and help you lose weight.

After surgery you will continue meeting with our team to ensure safe and effective weight loss.

Learn more about our adult bariatric program >