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.