There are also complications that come from these two surgeries, like intestinal leakage, bowel obstruction, and various nutritional deficiencies. Recipients of this surgery must adhere to strict nutritional and activity guidelines in order to avoid severe complications. This sort of discipline is often in short supply even among the most dedicated teenager.
Some researchers fear that as this sort of weight-loss surgery gains momentum for children and teens, some doctors will elect to operate on patients who should not have the surgery, and would be better suited to less radical measures. There also remains a concern that such successes, even if they remain with the severely obese, will detract from national efforts to improve nutrition, combat obesity, and promote exercise. In essence, by embracing this option, are we effectively giving up on the children who struggle with these severe weight problems and telling them they cannot change?
We still do not know what the long-term effects of this surgery might be (a gastric band might need to be in place for some 70 years on some of the younger recipients). Complications and medical scares aside, is there something a bit off about embracing this severe option? Sure there are candidates who are morbidly obese that will not likely live to see their 30s, but they are in the minority. With roughly 40 percent of the country’s population overweight, what sort of message are we sending with our advocacy of these procedures? Do the immediate improvements from these two procedures justify altering a child’s digestive system, probably for life?