Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What types of surgery do Texas Children’s pediatric bariatric surgeons perform?

Our surgeons perform the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, a minimally invasive procedure known for its reliable results for improved health and its greater success at achieving long-lasting weight loss. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy may also be considered on a case-by-case basis. Gastric lap-banding is not performed at our facility as it is not FDA approved for those under 18 years of age.


What is the goal of weight loss surgery?

The goal of the surgery is to help you lose a significant amount of weight to improve your overall health. Weight loss surgery is a great tool to help you lose weight and keep it off, however, it requires you make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle. Your decision to follow a healthy lifestyle and stay active is the most important part in determining your success with long term weight loss.


Is weight loss surgery covered by insurance?

Every patient’s insurance policy can vary. All parents will need to call their insurance carrier to see if your insurance plan and policy will cover weight loss surgery for those under 18 years of age. We do not accept patients without health insurance and we do not have a cash pay option for the program or surgery.


How does weight loss surgery work?

The gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy work by changing the anatomy of the stomach and intestines, as well as changing energy balance and fat metabolism. The end result is that weight loss surgery can reduce hunger and increase the feeling of fullness.


How long will I need to follow a diet after surgery?

By consenting to bariatric surgery or, weight loss surgery, you are committing to follow a healthy lifestyle. The diet immediately following surgery will progress slowly through three different stages, which allow your stomach to heal while also providing essential nutrients to your body. The final stage of the diet is the transition to a healthy lifestyle, which you will follow for the rest of your life. This will include 3 – 5 small meals per day. Your dietitian will further explain each stage of the diet as you progress through our program.


How do I know if my child needs weight loss surgery?

If your child has a BMI over 40 in addition to other medical conditions such as, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, hypertension or obstructive sleep apnea; you may need to consider weight loss surgery. It is always encouraged to try a medically managed weight loss program first before resorting to weight loss surgery.


Are there any possible complications with this surgery?

There are possible complications with any major surgery, however complications during weight loss surgery are rare. Post-op complications can include difficulty swallowing, infection, reflux, bleeding, a gastric leak, pneumonia, vitamin and mineral deficiency and dumping syndrome. Your surgeon will go over all complications with you and your family at your clinic visits. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.


Is weight loss surgery a long-term solution?

Weight loss surgery is a tool to help achieve long-lasting weight loss, and an improvement in many health conditions including, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome, and fatty liver. However, for best results, it is imperative to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle before and after surgery. Surgery is a tool to help with weight loss and is not reversible.


Is there a minimum age to have this surgery?

Our patients are teenagers, ages 15 – 18 years old. Patients younger than 15 years of age are encouraged to try one of Texas Children’s medically managed weight loss programs or other weight loss programs in the community.


How do you handle the problem of loose skin after weight loss?

After a large amount of weight loss, many patients can experience loose, flabby skin in the stomach, thighs, neck and under arm areas. In many cases, patients are interested in have plastic surgery to fix this problem. Patients will need to see our surgeon for a referral to plastic surgery.


Do you offer other options for adolescent weight loss besides surgery?

Texas Children’s offers many weight management programs for children of all ages. Please visit our weight management page to see more programs.


How much can I expect to lose?

The surgery works because you feel satisfied on smaller portions and you absorb fewer calories from the foods you consume. For the first few months after weight loss surgery, patients typically consume less than 600 calories per day from foods and liquids. Your body will use your stored energy (stored fat tissue) during this time and you will lose weight quickly. The amount of weight you lose depends on how closely you follow your diet plan after surgery and how active you are. The average weight loss ranges from 8 – 20 pounds per month in the first few months and then slower after that (1-2 pounds per week).

Note: It is still possible to overeat and gain weight by eating and drinking high calorie foods instead of follow your diet recommendations.