Children's Hospital Colorado

Pediatric Bariatric Surgery (S1:E22)

In the early 2000s, pediatricians noticed that teenagers who were developing incredible weight loss problems had few treatment options. Traditional lifestyle measures tend to be more successful for younger patients and kids who aren't severely obese. As pediatric surgery experts continued to learn more about teenage obesity, it became clear that bariatric surgery offers a high success rate for many young patients.

Listen to an adolescent medicine expert discuss bariatric surgery

Today on the Charting Pediatrics podcast, we're discussing adolescent bariatric surgery with Thomas Inge, MD. Dr. Inge is the former division head of Pediatric Surgery and former Director of the Bariatric Surgery Center at Children's Colorado.

In this episode, our expert explains:

  • Where bariatric surgery fits within available options for the morbidly obese adolescent patient.
  • Common medical indicators that show general readiness and suitability, which primary care providers can look for to assess whether a teenage patient could be a successful candidate for bariatric surgery.
  • When it makes sense to refer teenage patients to bariatric specialists.
  • Key contraindications for bariatric surgery that pediatric providers should have on their radar.
  • The impact of patient age and how to assess maturity, both skeletal and psychological, before weight loss surgery.
  • The types of bariatric operations that are suitable for adolescents, including gastric sleeve surgery.
  • What the multicenter Teen-LABS study means for adolescents.

Partnering with patients and families for a successful bariatric surgery

As podcast listeners will learn, Dr. Inge emphasizes the importance of assessing a teenage patient's whole health before prescribing weight loss surgery. In the past, pediatricians wanted a patient to be physiologically mature before surgery. However, emotional state of mind, overall mental health and cooperation with the surgical team are equally critical to a successful procedure. A teenager must be prepared to commit to treatment and recovery for surgery, and they should understand their obligations before surgery is scheduled.

Primary care practitioners should also note that bariatric surgeons welcome direct referrals. The bariatric team will assess each individual patient and determine whether surgery is the next best step.

Bariatric surgery for teenage weight loss at Children's Colorado

The Children's Colorado Bariatric Surgery Center offers bariatric surgery as a treatment option for severe obesity and obesity-related health conditions in teens. Our bariatric surgery team takes a multidisciplinary team approach to the treatment of obesity, collaborating with experts from lifestyle medicine, pediatric surgery, endocrinology, nutrition and pediatric psychology. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.