My name is Abdullah Zarroug. I'm a pediatric surgeon here at the Mayo Clinic and today we're going to be talking about adolescent bariatric surgery. Adolescent bariatric surgery doesn't happen by itself. Really, we’re an established program of weight loss for adolescents that starts with the pediatric endocrinologist that initiated this process years ago, Dr. Seema Kumar.

Under her leadership we've been able to establish an adolescent bariatric surgery program and we're just one arm of many aspects of taking care of these children that happen to have excess weight. Generally speaking, it's weight of 95 or 99 percentile above the average so it's really children that do have weight related issues and specifically core morbidities, medical core morbidities, that are related to their weight loss. For example, diabetes, or sleep apnea, or liver cirrhosis, non-alcoholic static steatohepatitis, liver disease from their weight gain, or from their weight, so the program is designed not just to perform the procedure but it's really designed to initiate weight loss through behavior modification in the beginning to try to identify what are the factors that are causing or are a root cause of their weight gain or their inability to lose weight.

I think one of the reasons that I'm very excited about the adolescent bariatric surgery program is really the multidisciplinary nature of our program and the collaborative nature of the program that we have here. You meet with all of the specialists in a very or at least we're very fortunate and blessed that we have multiple pediatric specialties and specialists that can take care of almost every single aspect of a child here at the Mayo Clinic. So it's not just that they're coming here for the weight loss again they're coming here for a medical condition that needs to be treated and whether they need a pediatric ear, nose, and throat physician or whether they need a pediatric ophthalmologist or whether they need a pediatric neurosurgeon or really whatever it is that they need we're going to be able to provide that expertise so we can get them through their entire process from start to finish. And we've done this over the last five years formally as an adolescent bariatric program quite successfully.

You know, this has been controversial in the beginning, but we met with our Ethics Committee here at Mayo. We were tested quite a bit as far as what are our criteria — what are we planning to do, how are we going to follow the patients — and I'm really quite satisfied with the program that we've developed and again it's a mature program that's been here for several years. And one of the highlights is that we treat the entire patient. We treat the medical core morbidity, we meet the with the families and it's been one of the more satisfying aspects of the surgical care that I've provided.

You know initially, you don't think of yourself as going to staple someone's stomach and that'll be the procedure and that's it and what am I going to do for the patient. Really you get to know the families and get to know the kids and the remarkable changes that occur and really that changes in quality of life that they have that you see over the next six months, nine months, and year are remarkable. It's not that they've become a different person, but the very positive aspects of their life are brought forward and they really do have a positive change in quality of life. It's very satisfying.