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Who is Eligible?

Unfortunately, every adolescent that is overweight is not a candidate for weight loss surgery. Certain “rules” have been established to identify patients that can have teenage obesity surgery as a treatment for their weight.

These rules say that adolescents desiring bariatric surgery for morbid obesity must:

  • Completed greater than 6 months of organized attempts at weight management with the assistance of a multidisciplinary weight-loss program (as determined by their primary care provider)
  • Have attained physiologic maturity (Tanner 4 or 5, final or near-final height)
  • Have attained skeletal maturity (age 14 in girls; age 15 in boys) confirmed with bone age radiographic evidence of > 95% of adult stature
  • Be very severely obese (BMI > 40) with serious obesity-related comorbidities, or have a BMI > 50 with less severe comorbidities. BMI and Growth Chart Percentile Calculator
  • Demonstrate commitment to comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations before and after surgery
  • Agree to avoid pregnancy for at least 1 year postoperatively
  • Be capable and willing to adhere to nutritional guidelines postoperatively

Demonstrate decisional capacity

  1. Provide informed assent to the surgical procedure
  2. Have a supportive family environment

Adolescents who should not be considered for surgical treatment of morbid obesity include those who:

  • Have a medically correctable cause of obesity
  • Have a substance abuse problem within the previous year
  • Have a psychiatric, medical, or cognitive condition that would impair their ability to follow pre- and postoperative nutritional recommendations
    • Are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant in the immediate future
    • Have parents that are unable to understand the consequences of this surgical procedure and the need for lifelong postoperative surveillance