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Weight-Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery) Program
After feeling like she had exhausted her weight-loss options, Sabrina came to Children's National to achieve her goal of a healthier lifestyle.
At Children’s National Hospital, our Bariatric Surgery Program performs weight-loss procedures for children and adolescents and provides a range of support services to help your family achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Childhood obesity is a complex condition that dramatically increases the risk of other serious health problems, such as diabetes, disability, heart disease and mental health issues. If your child has tried different weight-loss methods without success, bariatric (weight-loss) surgery is a procedure that can help adolescents achieve better health when combined with lifestyle changes.
Choosing Children's National for Bariatric Surgery
We know that weight-loss surgery is not a decision you and your child are making lightly. Together with your family, Children's National helps to create a strong support system to help patients adjust to their new bodies and lifestyle changes. Highlights of our program include:
- Dedicated multidisciplinary team. Children’s National is one of the few centers in the country dedicated to pediatric bariatric surgery. Our surgeons are board-certified in both general surgery and pediatric surgery. Additionally, our team includes a wide range of pediatric specialists who understand that children are not simply “mini-adults.” We work with each other and with your family to provide the best outcome possible. Meet our team.
- Quality care. We are accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®). This designation makes Children’s National one of the first children’s hospitals to receive such accreditation, and the only hospital in the area to be accredited to perform safe, high quality bariatric surgery on adolescents. Learn more.
- Level 1 Surgery Verification. We have attained Level 1 Surgery Verification from the American College of Surgeons, a distinction that recognizes surgery centers that have improved surgical quality, prevented complications, reduced costs and saved lives.
- Personalized care. Your child may have their own questions about the procedure and their post-surgery bodies. Our team includes child psychologists who can talk to your child and address any questions or concerns he or she may have. In addition, we will develop a personalized lifestyle and follow-up plan for your child to adhere to after the surgery.
- Family focused. We strongly emphasize family education, and we encourage family members to be active participants in the health care team.
Understanding Bariatric Surgery
At Children’s National, we are dedicated to providing children and adolescents with a safe, effective surgery and successful outcome. After a year, our patients lose an average of 70-100 pounds (sometimes more). In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, bariatric surgery reduces the risk of developing other diseases.
If you are considering weight-loss surgery for your child or teenager, we recommend that you talk to one of our pediatric surgical specialists. We also recommend you do the procedure earlier rather than later since children will continue to gain weight as they grow, lessening the benefits of the surgery.
Learn more about:
You may be wondering if your child is a candidate for bariatric surgery. Candidates must meet these requirements:
- Have a history of obesity for at least three years
- Tried other weight-loss programs without success
- Have a BMI of at least 35 with an obesity-related condition OR a BMI of greater than 40 without an obesity-related condition
- Understand the lifelong dietary commitment required after the surgery
- Complete all clinically required laboratory and diagnostic tests
- Have confirmation from a psychologist or psychiatrist that he/she is mature enough to comply with the requirements
- Complete follow-up visits for three years after surgery
We perform mainly two types of weight-loss procedures:
- Sleeve gastrectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon removes a large part of the stomach. This affects how much a child can eat, but not how the body absorbs food and nutrients. We use this procedure most often for children and adolescents. Learn more about sleeve gastrectomy.
- Gastric bypass. This procedure does two things: It makes the stomach smaller, limiting how much food you can eat. It also causes food to bypass parts of the small intestines, reducing how much food and nutrients the body absorbs. Because it affects the absorption of nutrients, we generally do not recommend this as the primary procedure for children and teenagers. However, it is offered for select patients including those who have not lost enough weight with sleeve gastrectomy.
Our pediatric surgeons have years of experience in performing bariatric surgery. In addition, we are among the nation’s top experts in the field, training other pediatric surgeons around the country in weight-loss surgery for children. We are also extensively involved in research, analyzing tissue from our patients to gain a better understanding of childhood obesity with the goal of personalizing treatment for each patient.
The program’s multidisciplinary team includes many different pediatric specialists, working together to ensure your child’s safe and successful outcome. Our team includes:
- Child psychologists
- Physical therapists
- Pediatric sub-specialists (e.g. Endocrinology, Sleep Medicine, Cardiology, etc.)
- Staff nurses
- Social workers
Meet the team.
For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Program, please call 202-476-2151. For urgent assistance outside of business hours, please call 202-476-5000.
Maria was the first patient to have weight-loss surgery at Children's National. With its multidisciplinary approach, a team developed a personalized plan for the teenager.
Weight-Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery) Program Team