Adolescent Surgical Weight-Loss Program

The Adolescent Surgical Weight-loss Program at UI Health aims to help children and adolescents who are morbidly obese. Our interdisciplinary team comprises specialists from pediatric surgery, bariatric surgery, adolescent medicine, nutrition, psychiatry, plastic surgery, and other pediatric specialties. Our adolescent specialist, surgeon, and nutritionist work with patients and families closely on a monthly basis at least six months prior to surgery to prepare for the procedure. After surgery, patients are closely followed at regular intervals to monitor their specific needs.

UI Health is certified as a Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). UI Health currently is the only Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications in the state of Illinois.


  • Research studies have proven that bariatric surgery is more effective when done early than delaying the surgery until adulthood.
  • Bariatric surgery can reverse weight-related illnesses, such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease, and high cholesterol.
  • Post-surgery, patients can see an improvement in self-esteem, quality of life, and psychological status.

Who can Benefit from this Program?

Patients must be 14 years of age and have completed their growth in order to be considered for a bariatric treatment. Physicians consider body mass index (BMI) and associated co-morbidities when determining a patient’s eligibility for bariatric surgery. An adolescent is eligible for a bariatric procedure if they have:

  • BMI ≥ 35 with major co-morbidities, such as type-2 diabetes, moderate to severe sleep apnea, or severe fatty liver disease.
  • BMI ≥ 40 with less severe co-morbidities, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Treatment Options

At UI Health, we offer various types of bariatric surgeries which are performed minimally invasively:

The decision regarding which bariatric procedure is appropriate for a patient is a complex one that is made by the surgical team, in conjunction with the adolescent and his or her family. For patients not interested in surgical weight-loss programs, UI Health offers a medically supervised nonsurgical weight-loss program.

What to Expect

  • Initially, a thorough evaluation is performed that details the child’s food intake, physical activity level, and more. Once this information is collected, your healthcare provider will begin to discuss the available treatment options.
  • Bariatric procedure is recommended for patients with severe obesity.
  • Typically, patients stay in the hospital one to three nights after their surgery to monitor their pain control and diet, depending on their procedure (gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy). 
  • Once discharged, patients may return to school and their activities without delay. 
  • Patients are seen two weeks after surgery, and then monthly. Follow-up eventually is tailored to their specific needs.

Program Participation

  • Surgery patients are expected to commit to a liquid diet for two weeks prior the surgery and two weeks after the surgery. Food intake will be gradually increased over time.
  • Bariatric patients require lifelong follow-up care. Work with your healthcare team to help your adolescent stay healthy.
  • Patients are seen monthly by either a physician or dietitian prior to seeking insurance approval for surgery.

Contact us

To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 312.996.7416 or 312.996.5100.

Outpatient Care Center, Suite 3F
1801 W. Taylor St.
Chicago IL, 60612