Skip to main content Skip to navigation
We care about your privacy. Read about your rights and how we protect your data. Get Details

Bariatric Surgery Referral Guidelines

The Weight-Loss Surgery Program at Children’s National helps adolescents who are severely obese through surgical intervention coordinated with medical management in the IDEAL clinic, or in the patient’s primary medical home. While diet and behavior changes can help some adolescents, many of these patients go on to become obese adults. The efficacy of diet and behavioral changes can be strengthened in some adolescents with surgical procedures. Weight loss through bariatric surgery is one way to treat severe obesity in adolescents by producing significant weight loss, correcting obesity-related medical conditions and improving self-image and socialization.

Children’s National is the only pediatric program in the region performing weight-loss surgery.

Referral Guidelines

Patients who wish to undergoweight-loss surgery must meet the following specific criteria:

  • Have a BMI of at least 35 with an obesity-related comorbidity or greater than 40 without a comorbidity.These criteria are the ones recommended by the National Institutes of Health for adults.

  • Have a history of obesity for at least three years, including documented failed attempts at diet andmedical management of obesity.

  • Complete all clinically required laboratory and diagnostic tests.

  • Have confirmation from a psychologist or psychiatrist that he or she is sufficiently mature to complywith the clinical protocol.

  • Complete follow-up visits during three years after surgery.

Download a pdf of these guidelines. 


Renesha's Story


When Renesha came to Children's at 19-years-old, she weighed 286 pounds. Now, after her treatment through the Obesity Program, she's a self-proclaimed "health freak," encouraging her family and friends to work out and eat healthy with her.

Read More of Renesha's Story