Obesity is a serious and complex health issue that affects millions of children and adolescents. Young people with significant weight issues are at greater risk of developing health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Excessive weight also can worsen breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea.
For young people who have been unsuccessful at losing weight through traditional weight loss measures or who suffer from obesity-related health conditions, bariatric surgery can be an effective treatment on the journey to a healthier, more active life.
When is bariatric surgery the right choice?
Before undergoing weight-loss surgery, Boys Town specialists will perform comprehensive medical, nutritional and psychological evaluations to determine if your child is a good candidate for surgery. Generally, surgery is most effective for children who:
- Have a BMI index of at least 35
- Are at least 13 years of age
- Meet compliance criteria set forth by SPARK providers
Bariatric surgery is a procedure that involves committing to lifestyle changes that will keep the weight off. Surgery by itself is not a cure or quick fix. Children need to complete a minimum of six months in our SPARK, Pediatric Weight Management Clinic.
Weight Loss Specialists
Our team of bariatric specialists is led by Dr. Robert Cusick, pediatric general surgeon; Dr. M. Kelly McCarthy, pediatrician and Medical Director of the SPARK Pediatric Weight Management Clinic; and Carly Rupiper, APRN and bariatric surgery coordinator. We also partner with Dr. Thomas White, bariatric surgeon, from Methodist Health System. Together, they have helped many teens achieve weight loss success using the least invasive and most beneficial surgical procedures.
At Boys Town Hospital, we mostly perform the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure uses four to five very small incisions on the abdomen to allow surgical instruments to enter the body and remove a large portion of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch for food to go into. The laparoscopic approach allows for faster healing and fewer chances of complications.
Surgery is just one component of Boys Town's comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to weight management. Specialists in obesity medicine, nutrition, physical activity and pediatric and family psychology will work with you and your child to ensure long-term success by providing individualized care that includes:
Medical management that addresses and treats medical conditions affected by weight
Dietary guidance that includes counseling and meal planning to teach healthy eating
Activity and exercise training in a variety of settings to encourage participation
Behavioral and mental healthcare to identify and replace unhealthy habits
At every step in the weight loss journey, from initial consultation and pre-surgery prep to post-operative care and long-term follow-up, Boys Town will provide the attention, guidance and support your child needs to achieve better physical health and maintain a more active life.
Make an appointment today.