Adolescent Weight Loss Surgical Options

Adolescent Weight Loss Surgical Options



Weight loss surgery is a highly effective way to achieve lasting weight loss and significantly reduce other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, depression, and arthritis. It also greatly improves overall health and self-esteem. For adolescents, this surgery can help reverse the effects of obesity.

The right surgical procedure for your child will be determined during the initial consultation meetings with your doctor. There are generally three types of weight loss surgery:

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery

This is the only weight loss surgery performed by Children’s Health.  The sleeve gastrectomy removes up to 75 percent of the stomach, which limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time.  It is also thought to encourage weight loss by removal of ghrelin-secreting cells in the upper stomach.  Although it does not rearrange the configuration of the small intestine, it has weight loss that is rapid and comparable to the gastric bypass.

Weight loss surgery is done laparoscopically, with small, thin instruments inserted via five or six small incisions in the abdomen. 

Laparoscopic surgery results in positive outcomes including:

  • Less pain and reduced need for pain medication
  • Less risk of wound infection
  • Quicker recovery and return to daily activities
  • Shorter hospital stays – one or two days

Gastric lap band surgery

This surgery does not remove any part of the stomach. Instead, it reduces the size of the stomach by a band placed around the upper portion of the stomach.  Because the band limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, you will feel fuller when you do eat.  The band can be adjusted by the surgeon over the course of time via a thin tube leading to an access port that is left under the skin. 

This surgery is not approved for patients under age 18.

Gastric bypass surgery

This surgery reforms the stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch that is connected to a section of small intestine. This limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time and the calories that are absorbed from that food. 

Because this surgery has long-term nutrition repercussions, it is not often recommended for adolescents.

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