Obese Two-Year-Old Undergoes Weight Loss Surgery

September 20, 2013

Childhood Obesity: Weight Loss Surgery For Toddlers?

by Tammy J. Colter

An obese toddler from Saudi Arabia has become the youngest person on record to undergo weight loss surgery. The two-year-old had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 41 and weighed 72 pounds at the time of surgery.  The child's parents sought medical help after failed diet attempts and after discovering their son had sleep apnea which caused him to stop breathing while sleeping.

Surgeons Mohammed Al Mohaidlya, Ahmed Sulimana and Horia Malawib performed the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) on the toddler. The surgery was performed laparoscopically (laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy) (LSG). The surgery, which is not reversible, involves removing a large portion of the stomach leaving a smaller stomach which is about the size and shape of a banana.

Obese Two-Year-Old Undergoes Weight Loss Surgery

“To our knowledge the LSG has never been tried in very young age children,” the surgeons conveyed in an article in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports. “We present here probably the first case report of the successful management of a two-year-old morbidly obese boy.”

The surgery took place in 2010 and the toddler has since lost 15 percent of his body weight and has lost 20 pounds. The young boys BMI is now 24.

Obesity experts are calling the surgery "shocking". One such expert is Professor Paul Zimmett from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. He has concerns about chartering into the unknown. “We have no idea what effect this may have on the child’s growth and unless he has proper follow up he may suffer vitamin deficiencies.”

It has been reported that Indian doctors also performed weight loss surgery on a 4-year-old boy who weighed 98 pounds and was consuming over 1,400 calories a day due to a genetic disorder known as Prader Willi Syndrome.

Prader Willi Syndrome is a rare condition that presents mental, physical, and behavioral problems and one symptom is the constant feeling of being hungry.

How do you feel about weight loss surgery being performed on toddlers? Share your thoughts below.