If your child is severely obese, serious medical problems can result — so it's important to lose the extra weight. But, if regular weight loss attempts haven’t worked, pediatric bariatric surgery (surgery for weight loss) might be an option. At Nemours Children’s Health System, we're helping to set the bar nationally in pediatric weight loss surgery. Our surgeons and medical professionals have a high level of expertise and experience in treating teens with severe obesity, and use the very best pediatric bariatric surgery techniques.
What Is Pediatric Bariatric Surgery?
Simply put, pediatric bariatric surgery is a procedure designed to help a person lose excess weight. The type of pediatric bariatric surgery our experts at Nemours advocate and perform is known as “gastric sleeve surgery” or “laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.” So what does that mean in plain English?
The procedure creates a smaller gastric (stomach) area, slimming it down into a narrower sleeve or banana-like structure. “Laparoscopic” means we make several small incisions to insert a tiny camera or scope, which helps guide the procedure and allows us to use small instruments to perform the technique. (This is a form of minimally invasive surgery, which can help your child to experience fewer complications and discomfort postsurgery.)
“Gastrectomy” simply refers to removing part of the stomach. Most often, we remove a large portion of a severely obese young person’s stomach.
The Effects of Pediatric Bariatric Surgery
After gastric sleeve surgery, the newly narrowed stomach pouch holds much less than a normally sized stomach. This helps to significantly reduce the amount of food (and, therefore, calories) that can be consumed. It also affects the stomach's hormone levels — reducing hunger, increasing feelings of fullness, and aiding the control of blood sugar levels.
Gastric sleeve surgery enables rapid and significant weight loss. In fact, most patients lose 50 to 80 percent of their excess body weight 12 months after surgery. At Nemours, our patients are currently averaging 83 percent excess weight loss one year after pediatric bariatric surgery.
Our Pediatric Bariatric Surgery Expertise
Managing a healthy weight may be challenging for your child or teen, for many reasons. For the best results, our physicians and staff will work closely with you, your child and your whole family to establish a healthy lifestyle. When the whole family adopts healthy eating and physical activity habits, pediatric bariatric surgery is more successful — and overall health improves for everyone in the family.
Our team of nationally recognized experts is made up of health care providers specializing in pediatrics, surgery, psychology, nursing, nutrition and exercise. Our Nemours Weight Management Clinic is one of the longest-standing and busiest pediatric weight management clinics in the country.
Convenience to Make It All a Little Easier
To help you and your child focus on the task of losing weight and engaging in healthy habits, we'll arrange coordinated appointments for you. That means you and your child can see all of the health care providers you need as conveniently as possible, from our pediatricians and surgeons to psychologists, dietitians and nurses. We'll do all we can to make your life a little easier — before and after your child’s pediatric bariatric surgery.
The team draws upon a wide range of experience from a number of physicians and staff members.
Linhda Nguyen, MHS, PA-C
Peggy Karpink, RN, CCRC
Clinical Nurse Coordinator
Advanced Practice Nurse
Emily Hartline, RD, CSP, LDN
Lauren Falini, MS
- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Returning Patient Forms
- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
English | Spanish
Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
- Insurance We Accept: See accepted insurance, listed by location.
- Pay Your Bill: Use online bill pay or send by mail.
- Financial Assistance: Get help with your child's health care expenses.
- MyNemours: Access your child’s medical record online.
- Your Child's Surgery Guide (PDF) in English or Spanish: What to expect before, during and right after surgery.
Nikki's Gastric Sleeve Surgery
In this video, you’ll meet Nikki, who began to develop very serious health issues because of her weight. Since having the gastric sleeve pediatric bariatric surgery procedure at duPont Hospital for Children, Nikki has lost more than 98 pounds and is a healthy, active teenager.
Pediatric Bariatric Surgery at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital
Helping your child maintain a healthy weight is important to avoid a number of dangerous medical problems. For many children, a serious commitment to a doctor-approved diet and exercise plan can be all that's necessary to shed excess pounds and avoid obesity-related complications. However, when these weight loss attempts aren't enough, pediatric bariatric surgery can be an option. At Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., we offer comprehensive care to those who qualify for our pediatric bariatric surgery program.
The Nemours Weight Management Clinic is the longest-standing and one of the busiest pediatric weight management clinics in the country. Our pediatric bariatric surgery program features the combined expertise of our medical and surgical directors and staff. Every pediatric bariatric surgery candidate's journey with us starts with a complete medical evaluation and includes all of the necessary psychological evaluation and counseling, nutrition counseling and education, and exercise evaluations and personal training.
The form of pediatric bariatric surgery we perform is known as “gastric sleeve surgery.” Our surgeons basically create a smaller stomach, removing a large portion of a severely obese young person’s stomach. The procedure is performed “laparoscopically” which means we use a tiny camera or scope to guide the minimally invasive procedure.
After a gastric sleeve procedure, the newly narrowed stomach pouch holds less, significantly reducing the amount of food (and calories) your child consumes. It also reduces hunger, increases feelings of fullness and helps control blood sugar levels.
With gastric sleeve surgery, your child may experience rapid and significant weight loss. In fact, most patients lose 50 to 80 percent of their excess body weight 12 months after surgery. At Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, our patients are currently averaging 83 percent excess weight loss one year after pediatric bariatric surgery.
The ultimate goal is for your child to have better overall health and gain control of health factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
You may be referred to our program if your child has had rapid or unexplained weight gain, or has been chronically and severely obese. Your child must be at least 14 years old and 100 pounds overweight to be considered for pediatric bariatric surgery.
Our team will also consider your child's overall health and emotional maturity. In order for the surgery to be successful, your family must be fully involved in the decision-making process, as well as in the follow-up care.
Our team consists of nationally recognized experts in weight management, specializing in pediatrics, surgery, gastroenterology, psychology, nursing, nutrition and exercise. Our surgeons and medical professionals have a high level of expertise and experience in treating teens with severe obesity, and use the very best pediatric bariatric surgery techniques.
Long-term care — which typically includes medical screenings, education about nutrition and exercise, and access to psychological resources — is provided in a supportive, teen-friendly environment.
We provide coordinated pediatric bariatric surgery appointments to help families receive the many services we offer in a way that’s helpful and convenient. Families have access to coordinated appointments with an expert team of health care providers specializing in pediatrics, psychology, nutrition and exercise, with services provided five days and three nights a week.
In addition to our main location at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, we can also, for your convenience, provide some of the necessary follow-up appointments, such as meeting with the physician, physician assistant or registered dietitian at:
For Appointments: (302) 651-4200
For Information: (215) 861-8830
First Thursday of each month from 5-6 p.m. We hold meetings for families who are interested in our pediatric bariatric surgery program. For location and more information, please call our scheduler at (302) 651-4730.
What to Expect With Pediatric Surgery
If your child needs surgery, you can trust our pediatric surgical team at Nemours. Our pediatric surgical specialists (surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses) understand what kids need, psychologically and physically. Our guidebook provides step-by-step instructions and information about what to expect before, during and right after surgery at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Top 10 Things Kids Need to Know About Surgery
Take your child on a pediatric surgery video tour with Sheridan on her surgery day. This fun, kid-friendly video shows children and teens what to expect, step-by-step, if they need an operation at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.