Gastric Bypass a Miserable Option For Childhood Obesity

Last fall, I warned you about a medical device company seeking FDA approval for gastric banding that could be used on children in performing needless and dangerous gastric bypass surgeries.

In its infinite wisdom, the fatally flawed FDA has given a provisional approval to three American hospitals to test laparoscopic gastric banding (an elastic collar placed around the stomach that limits a patient's food intake). And, more studies focusing on the hugely debatable benefits of bariatric procedures for kids are already under way.

Of course, these studies have gone forward, even though the mortality rate for adult bariatric patients currently stands at 2 percent (a higher number than many professionals will admit) and 40 percent of these same people will develop surgical complications within six months, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Already, many adult patients feel so miserable about their health, they'll resort to harmful, painful "cures" like gastric bypass to "escape" those extra pounds without even thinking about or trying anything else first. What's to stop kids from wanting the same thing? If the mortality risks aren't convincing on their own, perhaps the prospect of going blind as they get older may be enough.

USA Today February 5, 2007