Weight loss surgery for children and adolescents is becoming widespread and is being performed in children as young as five years old. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common type of procedure, in which surgeons cut out nearly the entire stomach, as you can see in my video, Stomach Stapling Kids. Bariatric surgery in pediatric patients does result in weight loss, but also has the potential for serious complications. These include pulmonary embolism, shock, intestinal obstruction, postoperative bleeding, leaking along the staple line, severe malnutrition, and even death at a rate of 0.5%. This means that 1 in 200 kids who go under the knife may die. Infection is identified as the leading cause of death and is most often associated with leaking of intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity.
Sometimes, gastric bypass surgery doesn’t work.
Occasionaly the gastric Bypass doesnt work and you have to go in and do another procedure. If that doesn’t work either, you can always try implanting electrodes into patients’ brains, a “novel antiobesity strategy” reported in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The concept of deep brain stimulation “since its inception has been that placing an electrode somewhere in the brain could make people eat less.” You drill two little holes in the patient’s skull, snake in some electrodes a few inches, and then tunnel the wires under the scalp into a pulse generator implanted under the skin on the chest. You evidently can’t crank it up past 5 volts because it induces anxiety and nausea. But even without the nausea, people with electrodes stuck in their brains lost an average of about 10 pounds a year.
The childhood obesity epidemic is so tragic. It pains me to see insult piled on injury. Too often, medical treatments can be worse than the disease. See my video, Why Prevention Is Worth a Ton of Cure.
Speaking of prevention, what might be the best diet for our young ones? See:
Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
How to Prevent Prediabetes in Children
Childhood Constipation and Cow’s Milk
Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity
Formula for Childhood Obesity
There are complications associated with gastric bypass surgery in adults, too. See my video The Dangers of Broccoli?.
Michael Greger, M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues.
Childhood Obesity at a Glance
Obesity impacts children in a variety of ways. First and foremost, a child’s health is impacted as they have now opened themselves up to a wide variety of health issues – issues that most of us didn’t experience until middle-age. In addition to health implications, there’s also one other area that children face which can be very serious – weight bias and bullying.
Kids impacted by obesity often find themselves the target of bullying. This bullying can take place in the classroom, in your neighborhood and even in your own home. It is very important to recognize this type of behavior and address it quickly. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a nonprofit dedicated to educating and advocating for those affected by obesity, provides valuable resources on weight bullying.
Bariatric surgery for obese children and adolescents: a review of the moral challenges