Bariatric Surgery for Adolescents


With rates of overweight among youth on the rise, bariatric surgery is sometimes considered as a treatment option for adolescents who are severely overweight. However, there are many concerns about the long-term effects of this type of operation on adolescents' developing bodies and minds. Adolescents often change their minds either before or after the procedure, and many weight loss surgeries are not reversible.

Experts in pediatric overweight and bariatric surgery recommend that surgical treatment only be considered when adolescents have tried for at least 6 months to lose weight and have not been successful.

Candidates should meet the following requirements:

  • Severely overweight (BMI of 40 or more)
  • Have reached their adult height (usually 13 or older for girls, 15 or older for boys)
  • Have serious weight-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

In addition, potential patients and their parents should be evaluated to see how emotionally prepared they are for the operation and the lifestyle changes they will need to make. Patients should also be referred to a team of experts in adolescent medicine and bariatric surgery who are qualified to meet their unique needs.

Adapted and excerpted from Obesity Action Coalition.

Reviewed by Paige Reddan, MS., RD., LN., CDE. 4/14

Last Modified Date: July 07, 2014

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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