The Oprah episode that aired today, featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz, discussed teens undergoing obesity surgery. Seeking either gastric band (like the Lap Band) surgery or gastric bypass surgery, these teens had the support of their parents to use this method to lose weight.
Cassie was 200 pounds at age 13 Four years later she maintains a weight of 141 pounds. She noted borderline diabetes and taunting from school friends as motivators, in addition to wanting to avoid life-long weight related health issues. The FDA does not approve gastric banding for youth (a small belt clipped around the stomach to reduce the amount of food you can ingest), so Cassie’s mother took her to a notable surgeon in Tijuana, Mexico. Today, Cassie is happy, thriving and healthy.
Mac underwent Gastric Lap Band surgery at the University of Illinois as part of a clinical study. Six months before he was allowed to even join the study he underwent physical therapy, visits with a nutritionist and psychological consults. At the time of his surgery he was 360 pounds. He cites depression and having always been an active kid, but since learning to step it up. He’s lost 150 pounds in one year; and recently his football coach encouraged him to put on a few pounds to his 175 pound frame in order to play.
Kylie was 17 when she had gastric bypass surgery, a non-reversible surgery that cuts away most of the stomach and bypasses digestion more quickly through the small intestine. She was going blind and having migraines- symptoms obese adult women experience. Since surgery she’s lost 120 pounds.
They also featured Nathanial, a high school student who had gastric bypass only one week ago and has since lost 14 pounds. At the time of surgery he weighed 340 pounds and was a borderline Type II Diabetic, had acid reflux, sleep apnea, knee and back problems.
The Lap Band is not currently approved for youth, and the bypass surgery is still questioned by many surgeons. The long-term effects post-surgery are still unknown in those under age 18.