Adolescent Weight Loss Surgery Program
MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) offers one of the most experienced adolescent weight loss surgery programs in New England. Through a close collaboration between adult and pediatric obesity specialists at the Mass General Weight Center, we provide the highest quality of care available in the region.
Adolescents with weight concerns are evaluated by the medical team at the MGHfC Weight Center. All patients are seen by the following team members:
- Pediatrician: Evaluates patients for causes of weight gain and for any weight-related problems. The pediatricians have advanced expertise in gastroenterology, nutrition, and endocrinology.
- Psychologist: Evaluates patients for depression and other mood disorders, social distress related to weight, family communication and behaviors related to weight.
- Dietitian: Evaluates patients’ current eating habits and food preferences, levels of physical activity and explores the best options for change to improve these habits.
Weight loss surgery for adolescents
After the evaluation, the Weight Center team discusses treatment options for each patient. For some adolescents, weight loss surgery may be an appropriate option. The Weight Center’s adolescent surgical program is a collaboration between the Mass General Weight Center’s surgeons, who have extensive experience in weight loss (“bariatric”) surgery, the MGHfC Weight Center’s pediatric medical team and MGHfC’s pediatric surgeons, nurses and specialists. All adolescents are carefully prepared for surgery through an age-appropriate education program, which includes each of the following steps:
- Learn about the potential benefits and risks of weight loss surgery and what they will need to do to have a successful result, including taking vitamin supplements and having long-term follow-up medical care.
- Establish healthy eating and exercise habits before surgery by working closely with the Weight Center team in individual or group sessions. This takes time and energy, and may take many months. However, it is important to do this work before surgery to have a lasting and healthy result.
- Work with a team psychologist to ensure that depression, anxiety or emotional eating are treated.
- Meet with a Mass General Weight Center surgeon to discuss details of the surgery, including which type of operation is best for the individual patient. The surgical options include:
- Gastric bypass
- Sleeve gastrectomy
- Adjustable gastric banding
After surgery, the MGHfC Weight Center team works closely with the adolescent and his or her family to address any surgical, medical, nutritional or emotional needs. Most of the follow-up visits are during the first year after surgery, but all patients will continue to receive long-term follow-up through annual visits.
Being obese increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
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