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Bariatric Surgery for Children

Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix for weight loss. All types of bariatric surgeries alter the digestive tract and can cause side effects such as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and vomiting. Eating habits must be drastically changed after surgery: portions must be severely restricted and liquids must be consumed separately from solids. Lifelong supplementation of certain vitamins is required after certain types of surgery. If these dietary protocols are not followed, weight can be regained and serious health problems can result. Many adults as well as most adolescents may not be able to consistently follow the diet and lifestyle changes that are required. For these and other reasons, bariatric surgery is not recommended for most adolescents.

Potential candidates for surgery require careful evaluation and must meet certain criteria, including a BMI over 40 with medical problems, or a BMI over 50 with or without medical problems. Adolescents who undergo the surgery require longterm nutrition and psychological support afterwards.