Now doctors give boy, 12, gastric band: Youngest ever British patient of extreme weight-loss …

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Now doctors give boy, 12, gastric band:

Youngest ever British patient of extreme weight-loss …Gastric band surgery is only offered to obese patients as a last resort, and children or teenagers must meet a strict NHS gastric band criteria before they are even considered for this type of surgery. Figures seen by The Mail on Sunday show that 62 young people aged 18 or under had the stomach-shrinking gastric band surgery on the NHS and private hospitals over a three-year period. They include the 12-year-old, one boy aged 13 and two boys aged 15.
Leading doctors and dentists blame parents for letting their children become so unhealthy that they need surgery – not just gastric band, but also operations to remove rotten teeth caused by sugary diets.
Gastric band surgery is only offered to obese patients as a last resort, and children or teenagers must meet a strict criteria before they are even considered for the procedure. To qualify they must have a body mass index of more than 40, have reached puberty, have first tried to slim through dieting or exercise, and have a full understanding of the psychological implications.

But even with these stringent rules, Government figures show the number of young people under 19 having gastric bands on the NHS doubled between 2007 and 2013, when more than 200 children had the surgery.

The average cost of the operation is more than £7,000.

Official statistics from the National Bariatric Surgery Register, which is compiled from surgeons’ reports, reveal that the 12-year-old boy is the youngest child to have been fitted with a gastric band within this group, although it is not recorded if the operation was publicly or privately funded.

NHS statisticians said the youngest patient they had on record for bariatric surgery paid for by the Health Service was 13.

However, many surgeons argue that the stomach bands could save the NHS money through reducing levels of obesity and associated illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, which are estimated to cost the Health Service £5 billion a year.

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