Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

The University of Illinois at Chicago was the first institution in the country to offer laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding as part of a multi-institutional trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration and conducted under the auspices of the University’s Institutional Review Board.  We have offered weight loss surgery for adolescents since March 2005 in a multidisciplinary clinic setting.  Our team is comprised of specialists from pediatric surgery, adolescent medicine, nutrition, psychiatry, plastic surgery, and other pediatric subspecialties are available as needed.  Our adolescent specialist, surgeon and nutritionist follow patients closely on a monthly basis preoperatively.  After surgery patients are see monthly for at least the first six months, then follow-up is tailored to their specific needs.

Because the adjustable gastric band is not approved for use in the pediatric population (less than 18-years old) by the Food and Drug Administration, we consider is critical that obese children have access to the finest specialists and are protected by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s IRB.  All patients are protected by the IRB and they are studied in an ongoing fashion as part of two studies.  We participate in two studies and collect information on all our patients to study their weight loss, change in body mass index, change in quality of life, and complications associated with weight loss surgery.  Although the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is considered “investigational”, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s IRB continues to support our center given our excellent record of safety and efficacy.

By treating over 80 patients over the past 8 years, we have found the adjustable gastric band is not the right tool for everyone.  Every child and adolescent is unique, and some adolescents have different needs to help them lose weight.  We also offer the sleeve gatrectomy and gastric bypass depending on the degree of obesity, medical comorbidities, and the patient’s wishes.

Regardless of the surgery that is ideal for the adolescent, all surgeries are performed laparoscopically.  This means all the incisions are minimized and the cosmetic effect is maximized.  This has also left our patients with less pain post-operatively, and none have required narcotics upon leaving the hospital for the past three years.  Typically patients stay in the hospital one to three nights to monitor their pain control depending on whether they had an adjustable gastric band placed, the sleeve gastrectomy, or a gastric bypass.  Once they are discharged, patients may return to school and all their activities without delay.  The length until a child is comfortable to resume physical activity depends on their pain tolerance, but for some they do not miss an opportunity.

Contact Adolescent and Pediatric Weight Management Center

312-355-1498, or


Antenatal Counseling

Some conditions that may require surgery to correct are detectable as early as the thirteenth week of pregnancy. Examples of these include abdominal wall defects, such as gastroschisis and omphalocele, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, lung malformations, and some tumors. If such a condition is detected, often the obstetrician who has identified the problem will refer parents for counseling to a pediatric surgeon. Discussion with a pediatric surgeon can help a family understand the many complex issues that can surround a child born with a surgical problem. Discussions are conducted in the relaxed environment of the outpatient clinic setting.

Prenatal discussions also allow parents and doctors to make individualized and careful plans for the treatment of each newborn. They also provide parents with the opportunity for a calm introduction to Childrens Hospital University of Illinois, CHUI, which can help to ease the stress associated with the birth of their baby. Antenatal counseling is one of the most important opportunities we have to educate and prepare families.

Chest and Abdominal Surgery

Children may require surgery for an array of conditions ranging from hernias and appendicitis, to more complex problems of the lungs and chest or abdomen, including liver, stomach, and intestines. Our pediatric surgeons are specially trained to work with infants and children who may have these and other problems demanding surgical care.

Intestinal Failure Program

Laparoscopic thoracoscopic pediatric surgery available down to neonates when appropriate.

Neonatal and Pediatric Transport

The Division of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago is dedicated to the healthcare of all children without exception.  We offer our services throughout the Chicagoland area and the greater upper Midwest region (including the tristate area of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin).  Transferring a patient to the Children’s Hospital of University of Illinois is easy to arrange with one phone call.  Physicians may call 855-842-CHUI (855-842-2484).  The phone is staffed by a physician 24-hours a day everyday of the year.

Neonatal Surgery

The pediatric surgeons at the University of Illinois at Chicago have undergone extensive training (at least eight years beyond medical school) to have the privilege of caring for babies.  They recognize the expertise family’s desire when caring for the smallest members of their families.  They treat the whole range of neonatal anomalies whether babies are full-term infants or one-pound micropremies.  Care is offered for infants born with congenital defects in the chest (esophageal atresia, lung anomalies, diaphragmatic hernia, patent ductus arteriosus), the abdomen (intestinal atresia, cystic masses, Hirschsprung’s disease, anorectal malformations), and for those suffering complications from extreme prematurity (necrotizing enterocolitis, respiratory failure, inguinal hernias).  Many of these procedures can be done with minimal scarring by utilizing 2- or 3-mm cameras and instruments.  Post-operative care is provided in the multidisciplinary setting of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois in collaboration with the neonatologists and other pediatric subspecialists.

Children’s Hospital University of Illinois (CHUI)

Pediatric Cancer Surgery

Consultation and surgery for many forms of pediatric cancer are available.

The Pediatric Trauma Service

Sinai Health System and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County provide acute care Level 1 trauma services to the west side of Chicago. The pediatric surgeons from the University of Illinois at Chicago provide surgical support to both hospitals, where they offer a wide variety of trauma services at these centers in coordination with other surgical subspecialties.  The range of traumas includes high-speed motor vehicle collisions, penetrating trauma, falls, and any other unfortunate injuries a child may suffer.

While the Children’s Hospital at the University of Illinois is not designated a Level 1 Trauma Center (the highest level of designation), patient transfers are accepted for complex and/or chronic trauma patients.  Ongoing and advanced surgical care will be provided in coordination with other pediatric surgical specialties (orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery) as well as pediatric radiologists and intensivists.