Adolescent Weight Loss Surgery

Fill Out Your Health History

Duke weight loss surgeons offer weight loss surgery options to teens ages 14 and older who have tried to lose weight through our Duke Children’s Healthy Lifestyles clinic and have health problems related to their obesity. Our team is committed to helping your teen achieve his or her weight loss goals.

North Carolina's Only Accredited Adolescent Weight Loss Surgery Program

Duke Children’s Healthy Lifestyles Program is a family-centered lifestyle intervention for children and adolescents who have a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for their age. Our team of dieticians, counselors, physical therapists, and medical providers work closely with your child and your family to ensure everyone learns to adopt healthier choices, including how to incorporate proper nutrition and activity into your daily life.

If your teen has attempted weight loss programs in the past, we offer advanced treatments including specialized diets and medications. Surgical options are available to teens who have been in our Healthy Lifestyles Program for at least six months and meet certain qualifications. If your teen qualifies for surgery, a clinical psychologist and dietician will work with your teen on pre-surgical education in the months leading up to surgery, and provide ongoing support after surgery. We also communicate with your teen's pediatrician or primary care provider.

Please check first with your insurance plan to verify that weight loss surgery is NOT excluded as a benefit for patients under the age of 18.

Choose Duke for your teen's weight loss surgery because we offer:

  • North Carolina's only accredited adolescent weight loss surgery program. Our weight loss program at Duke Regional Hospital is the only program accredited for adult AND adolescent weight loss surgery in North Carolina. We are one of the few weight loss surgery programs in the country that is accredited by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery to perform weight loss surgery on teens ages 14 to 18.
  • Experience matters. Our weight loss program has been serving Raleigh and Durham for more than 20 years. It is staffed by board-certified surgeons who are fellowship-trained, meaning they have completed additional years of training in bariatric surgery. They perform approximately 800 bariatric surgeries each year. Studies show that surgical experience is an important indicator of your successful outcome.
  • We help you choose the right approach. Your teen’s initial consultation will include an extensive physical exam and nutritional, psychological, and lifestyle evaluation. We also carefully evaluate your teen for all related medical conditions. This often requires special studies and occasionally consultations from medical specialists. This information helps us recommend the safest, most effective surgical approach for your child. 
  • Safer, minimally invasive surgery. Nearly 99 percent of our weight loss surgeries are completed laparoscopically, meaning they only require small incisions. In some cases, we use robotic tools to minimize incisions for more complex procedures that would normally require larger incisions. Smaller incisions translate to less pain, fewer complications, smaller scars, shorter stays, and faster recovery. Sometimes an abdominal incision is necessary based on your teen’s weight, body shape, and surgery history.
  • Post-surgery body contouring. If unwanted, loose skin and tissue hide the results of weight loss surgery, our skilled plastic surgeons can work with your teen to smooth and shape his or her body and ensure he or she feels and looks their best. (This is typically not covered by insurance.)
  • Pre- and post-surgery support groups.  We offer free monthly and weekly support groups in Durham and Raleigh to people who are preparing for weight loss surgery, as well as those who have already had surgery. Our experts address a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Your teen will also have the opportunity to talk to people with similar experiences in an educational and supportive setting. Your adolescent’s weight loss surgery does not have to be performed at Duke to participate in these support groups.

Comprehensive Consultation

Your adolescent will undergo a comprehensive consultation to evaluate his or her medical condition and overall well-being. The consultations are typically scheduled to take place during their first visit to our weight loss surgery clinic and include a variety of evaluations and tests.


Several tests are needed to complete the medical evaluation. Tests can be completed at Duke Raleigh Hospital or Duke Regional Hospital, or your child’s surgeon can order the tests at a location that is convenient to your family.

Take the First Steps

View the Online Information Seminar to determine if weight loss surgery is right for you. Then, the first step in scheduling weight loss surgery is the New Patient Evaluation. This 4-hour appointment includes a group classroom session that will help guide you in determining the right procedure. 

- call us at -