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The Adolescent Program: Options for Patients Ages 16 to Young Adult

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health effects. Adolescents who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. As a result, they are at greater risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis. Addressing obesity at a younger age can help prevent these types of obesity-related illnesses.

In 2014, the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery earned accreditation from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) as a Comprehensive Center with Adult and Adolescent Qualifications. We are the first and only center in Maryland to earn this accreditation for adolescent care.

Our multidisciplinary program focuses on the special needs of adolescents aged 16 through young adulthood, and is led by Kimberley Steele, M.D., Ph.D., medical director and bariatric surgeon, and Ann Scheimann, M.D., MBA, pediatric medical advisor and pediatric gastroenterologist. We offer medical, nutritional, educational and behavioral support through a team of dieticians, psychologists, nurses and surgeons who work with each patient and their parents or guardians to create a customized weight loss treatment plan. The team helps teens develop healthy lifestyle habits and prepares them for bariatric surgery, and also provides post-surgical weight management strategies.

Photo of Dr. Ann O'Shea Scheimann, M.D.

Scheimann, Ann O'Shea, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Advisor, Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program
Photo of Dr. Kimberley Eden Steele, M.D., Ph.D.

Steele, Kimberley Eden, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery
Director, Johns Hopkins Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Research and Innovations

Who is a Candidate for Adolescent Bariatric Surgery?

Before considering weight loss surgery, the adolescent is required to attempt weight loss through six months of supervised dietary management. This process will involve input and oversight by the adolescent’s primary care provider or pediatrician. Having completed this phase, the adolescent will then undergo additional evaluation by the bariatric surgeon.

Adolescent weight loss surgery candidates should:

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or 35-39.9 with obesity-related medical conditions, such as type II diabetes, sleep apnea or high blood pressure
  • Be aged 16 to young adult
  • Obtain a letter of medical necessity from their pediatrician
  • Agree to avoid pregnancy for at least 18 months after surgery
  • Have a supportive family environment
  • Attend an information session with a parent or guardian
  • Be willing to undergo comprehensive medical evaluation and psychological counseling before and after surgery
  • Be capable of and willing to adhere to nutritional guidelines after surgery

In the News

WJLA-TV offers a look at one patient’s weight loss surgery experience and success with Kimberley Steele, M.D., medical director of the adolescent program.

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