The procedure that helped Today Show Weatherman Al Roker shed more than 100 pounds is getting a lot of attention now from younger and younger patients.
Gastric Bypass, or stomach stapling, is an option here in Lubbock for patients as young as 15. However, the University of California at San Francisco is opening the door now to kids as young as 13 who would like that kind of surgery as treatment for obesity.
After an extensive screening process at UCSF, obese girls as young as 13 may be accepted. Boys there still need to be at least 15. In Gastric Bypass, surgeons divide the patients stomach with a stapler to reduce the size to just a couple of ounces.
Many pediatricians say they are concerned about this procedure in teens because it's still hard to predict their growth and development. The surgery also has risks, including death and infection. Patients may experience nausea and vomiting for months. Sometimes, stomach stapling is irreversible.
A common variation in Lubbock is called Gastric Band Surgery, which can be reversed. Whichever procedure you choose, expect to enroll first in a medically supervised diet and exercise program to see if you can reach some success that way because stomach stapling is a drastic option.