Reports might indicate that obesity has turned some kind of corner in the United States, even though it’s clear obesity in children is still a major concern. With that comes the fear far too many lives will be cut short because of kids well under 10 eating themselves to death with the worst possible foods. For adults, though, bariatric surgeries have become a near godsend for controlling obesity. Some reports are even out that gastric bypasses are placing those with type 2 Diabetes into states of remission if not nearly cured.
All this time bariatric surgeries have been available, there’s been a reluctance to try any of the procedures on children. But Saudi Arabia recently did a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on an obese child who was only two years old at the time. The details, though, show that it was probably necessary and seems to set a stronger consideration for other obese children.
How a Sleeve Gastrectomy Could Benefit Obese Kids
The above Saudi child was at a desperate crossroads due to his enlarging girth. The issue caused sleep apnea, plus the emergence of bowed legs from his heavy frame. It was part of an obesity situation that couldn’t seem to be controlled and arguably hereditary considering his parents were also morbidly obese.
Regardless, arguments are still made that proper diet can control any obesity and that blaming genetics is just an excuse. No matter you opinion, the child would have likely died before he was 18 had the procedure not been done. It gives a real hope to families who can’t control their child’s obesity and need to turn to desperate procedures to save their life.
The only question now is whether the United States will take a risk and try a bariatric surgery on an obese child who has no other choice. Which procedure would work the best on them? And what are the potential risks?
Is a Sleeve Gastrectomy Really Safe for Children?
Because the surgery on the Saudi child went into uncharted territory, it still isn’t known what the long-term effects it’ll have on his health. Considering a sleeve gastrectomy irreversibly removes more than half of a person’s stomach, there’s some concern about how it affects his development. Is it possible he won’t get enough nutrients to develop his body and brain as he becomes an adult?
It’s more than a little uncomfortable to use a child as a guinea pig for these scenarios. Plus, there may have to be more done to see what the true impact really is. Even if development is affected somewhat, the fact that the child can at least live may be enough for many people to consider a consultation with a bariatric surgeon.
There also has to be consideration on what other bariatric procedures could be done as an alternative. Lap-Band, for instance, is a reversible procedure because it uses an adjustable band around one’s stomach. Also, gastric bypasses are a simpler and less invasive bariatric surgery.
Concerns continue, though, about obese children possibly using bariatric surgeries as a quick fix rather than focusing on diet and exercise first. Once a better, streamlined diet becomes assimilated into a new generation, perhaps the real tide of obesity can finally turn a corner.