Childhood obesity and weight loss surgery
So what is Teen Time Bariatrics?
Around the world, regulations are different compared to Australia and obesity surgery is sometimes performed to resolve childhood obesity, in some situations in ages as young as 10-12. Here in Perth, we can start your program when you turn 13.
Some quick history
WA now stands in isolation from the rest of Australia where this surgery is permitted.
We continue to lobby the private hospitals to reverse this decision especially as updated guidelines from the peak Bariatric Surgery body in Australia (ANZMOSS) clearly support this surgery in 14+ age group.
As an interim measure, Mercy Bariatrics have partnered with the Adelaide Bariatric Clinic and its surgeon Dr Jacob Chisholm to offer bariatric surgery for the 14-18yr old cohort at their centre in Adelaide.
Mercy Bariatrics is responsible for the initial assessment and preparation as outlined in our Teen Time Bariatric program and all follow up, allowing the surgery to be performed with one scheduled visit to Adelaide over a one week period.
We have great confidence in the surgery and program of Dr Chisolm and the Adelaide Bariatric Centre.
They have agreed that our preoperative program meets all the requirements for preparation for their service.
This partnering will also allow us to accept onto this shared program adolescents as young as 13 for assessment and preparation although surgery will only be offered from 14 upwards.
Childhood obesity program
This program is for you if you’re not 18 yet
So we decided to do something different; not a clone of the process for adults. Whilst the actual surgery is technically the same: it is called either a sleeve gastrectomy or in other situations a gastric bypass. They are the preferred and recommended surgery types for weight loss, in teenage patients. So the procedures are the same, but the program is very different.
As a teenager, your way of taking in information is different. Your life is also different from the lives your parents lead for example. We make sure that the information we provide does not make your head spin when you come and see a weight loss specialist. We make sure you get the appropriate level of detail, and we present it in a way so you can learn a few things about the human body, your stomach, and the way weight loss surgery is done.
Your parents will find that the program also supports them. Not just to reassure them that their teen is ready to make a well-informed decision. Also because it helps your parents understand the process.
We will talk about commitment at some point. Like with many medical treatments, your own choices can make a big difference before and after your surgery. We help you commit to the outcomes, so you can get the best possible results. We all want to make the surgery work to its best, and that’s why we love to throw a little challenge at you from time to time.
After your preparation program, we may bring in an independent expert (an independent bariatric consultant if you want the full title). This is to confirm that you are ready. It means you have learned about how the process works, and that you also fully understand the potential risks and consequences.
Who is the team at Teen Time Bariatrics?
Let’s go over the experts you will meet at Teen Time Bariatrics in Perth:
The bariatric surgeon
When you come and see us at Teen Time Bariatrics, you will find that we have many years of experience. The fact that it has been a while since we were a teenager, is good news. We have learned from decades of performing sleeve gastrectomy procedures – and it has built our confidence that this procedure is the best choice to avoid long-term complications.
If you are under 16, you will meet our paediatrician. We discuss your support program, and the paediatrician looks at your overall health. We want to find out if you have other health problems related to childhood obesity. The paediatricians who are part of our program here in Perth, all have a particular interest in weight control medicine.
If you are older than 16 you will see our Bariatric Physician/GP who has the same role but will be around to follow you up over the next few years.
The role of the psychologist is to support you: help you so you are prepared, stay motivated, and have the right information. You will get this support before your surgery and beyond. And the psychologist is also ready to support your family members who are going through this with you. Why do we need a psychologist? It helps us find your strengths, deal with challenges and make sure you get the most out of your treatment.
We have our own gym at the clinic and the physiologist will help you understand your level of fitness. Yes, we have a hidden agenda! At some point, we will see if we can motivate you to exercise. We will create some exciting challenges and gently push you out of your comfort zone.
The dietitian helps you prepare for surgery, make good food choices and make the most of your surgery. In some cases, we will work towards an idea of preoperative weight to make sure your surgery can be conducted safely. And the dietitian is also an important player when we follow up with you after your weight loss surgery.
Our life coach leads the support group, and what you get is a Success Habits Training Course. It’s always about making sure you get the best results out of the surgery.
7 step program
What are the steps involved in the Teen Time Bariatrics program?
What can you expect as a teenager, when you decide to plan weight loss surgery and follow the Teen Time program?
We want to make sure that this is right for you. We organise a consultation with our weight loss surgeon, to talk about your situation. And because it is a big step, he will ask you to take the time to think about things. A little later, we will see you again to ask you if you want to continue to the next phase and arrange referrals. Sometimes we arrange some blood tests to make sure there are no metabolic problems creeping in.
If surgery is right for you and you are right for surgery a phone interview is arranged with Dr Chisolm so that he has a chance to get to know you too.
This is where you get to see the rest of our team including dietician, excercise physiologist and Bariatric educator and paediatrician or the bariatric physician. We look at health problems you may have and we help you understand the process. We build in a bit of a challenge: the sooner we see that you are willing to engage and learn, the more progress we make. The number of consultations in this phase depends on how ready you are.
This is an important and required step in the consent process for under 16yrs.
If you are under 16, you will see an external paediatric surgeon. This is an independent surgeon not connected to our clinic, and we need their expertise to confirm that you are ready and well informed. This surgeon will check that you fully understand the lifestyle changes you will need to make.
When the team is happy that you are ready for surgery a date can be set for your surgery in Adelaide.
The final consent process for surgery will be done in Adelaide with Dr Chisolm before your surgery.
You are now ready to fly to Adelaide and meet our colleagues at Adelaide Bariatric Centre.
You would expect to be in hospital for two nights and even the first night after surgery you will be up and about. Dr Chisolm and his team will see you one week after surgery and you should then be ready to return to Perth
When you are back in Perth, the Mercy Bariatrics team will see you again two weeks after surgery. We will work on your ‘Success Habits’, a series of post-op training sessions over 4 weeks. The program focuses on helping you get the best out of your weight loss treatment.
We build in check-up visits for regular follow-up: after 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 2 years. The visits are useful to make sure you are on track with your weight loss. We keep discussing good nutrition and we make sure that your obesity-related problems are resolving.