Bariatric surgery is a serious undertaking even when a fully-informed adult makes the choice, given the potential for complications and the fact that many weight-loss surgeries are not reversible. This would suggest that having children get such surgery is an even more grave concern. Nonetheless, it appears that despite the risks, a rapidly growing number of dangerously overweight children are undergoing such surgeries. Standard procedures include a gastric bypass, which promotes weight loss through nutrient malabsorbtion, and laparoscopic gastric banding, in which a collar around the stomach strictly limits the amount a person can eat.
As a result of the growth in children going under the bariatric knife, a group of four hospitals led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are starting a study examining how children fare after varied bariatric surgery procedures. Another hospital, New York University Medical Center, recently reported on a study of gastric banding in obese teens age 13 to 17, concluding that it was an effective treatment which produced relatively minor complications.
For more information on child weight-loss surgery:
- read this Associated Press piece