Stomach Stapling Kids

Image Credit: ReSurge International / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Even Children are Getting Gastric Bypasses Now

Weight loss surgery for children and adolescents is becoming widespread and is being performed in children as young as five years old. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common type of procedure, in which surgeons cut out nearly the entire stomach, as you can see in my video, Stomach Stapling Kids. Bariatric surgery in pediatric patients does result in weight loss, but also has the potential for serious complications. These include pulmonary embolism, shock, intestinal obstruction, postoperative bleeding, leaking along the staple line, severe malnutrition, and even death at a rate of 0.5%. This means that 1 in 200 kids who go under the knife may die. Infection is identified as the leading cause of death and is most often associated with leaking of intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity.

Sometimes, the surgery doesn’t work and you have to go in and do another procedure. If that doesn’t work either, you can always try implanting electrodes into patients’ brains, a “novel antiobesity strategy” reported in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The concept of deep brain stimulation “since its inception has been that placing an electrode somewhere in the brain could make people eat less.” You drill two little holes in the patient’s skull, snake in some electrodes a few inches, and then tunnel the wires under the scalp into a pulse generator implanted under the skin on the chest. You evidently can’t crank it up past 5 volts because it induces anxiety and nausea. But even without the nausea, people with electrodes stuck in their brains lost an average of about 10 pounds a year.

The childhood obesity epidemic is so tragic. It pains me to see insult piled on injury. Too often, medical treatments can be worse than the disease. See my video, Why Prevention Is Worth a Ton of Cure.

Speaking of prevention, what might be the best diet for our young ones? See:

There are complications associated with gastric bypass in adults, too. See my video The Dangers of Broccoli?.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

29 responses to “Even Children are Getting Gastric Bypasses Now

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  1. I find this sad, tragic and quite frankly appalling. What have we come to that intelligent, educated physicians would convince parents of beautiful children to mutilate them and forever affect their health instead of changing their diets. My God.

  2. Although I am not in one camp or another I will say that the process leading to this type of operation requires a psychological exam, psychosocial history, extensive conversations between the physician and the patient’s family, so forth. My procedure resulted in a 140 lb weight loss. I felt ‘normal’ for the first time n my life. Yes, there are operative risks, but what about the horrific psych-social, and medical consequences of being morbidly obese. I wish I could have had this operation early in my life. Also, your description of the Roux gives a false impression! The Gastric Sleeve is currently used along with post operative nutritional, psychological & group counseling & support for the patient & for the family. Most physicians operate on adolescents . Unless it’s a life saving operation, I would doubt that any managed care insurance company would consent to pay for a five year old’s operation. You appear to resort to the exceptional case to support your criticisms.

      1. Good question Scott. The fact is I had my gastric operation done in 2007 which is a milestone away from what is being done now. Good question Scott.
        The fact is I had my gastric operation done in 2007 which is a milestone away from what is being done now. Go on Science to research Metabolic Disease & Obesity. I primarily eat a plant based diet but my body actually loses weight on a high protein moderate fat regimen. For the record I have lost over 100 lb several times on different diet but given my obesity profile, metabolic issues, and family history, I have done much better with bariatric surgery. The recidivism rate for obesity is about 98 to 99% not very promising unless there is surgical intervention. Read the research. Thanks, L.

        1. Lynn Maas, I’m happy surgery worked for you, and I have no idea how often this happens, but I’ve watched a near-relative after bariatric surgery. At first she lost about 150 pounds of the 200 or so she needed to lose to reach a healthy BMI. But over time regained it all and more, and now appears to be over 400.

        2. Lynn, I took your admonition and searched Science Daily for info on metabolic disease and obesity. Are you referring to metabolic syndrome? That was all I found. Are you intimating that you have some metabolic disorder which causes obesity? You aren’t very clear on this.

    1. I also lost almost 150 lbs after being obese my entire life and suffering from the resultant myriad of health issues, but I spared my body the further insult of the drastic and harmful mutilation of surgery and simply adopted a whole food plant based lifestyle. We are designed by nature to seek out rich food for survival, and that worked great in our evolution when we had to forage for limited and unpredictable calories, but once we had a standard of living that gave us the means and access to unlimited options of calorie dense but nutrient poor edibles at the nearest supermarket, we happily sabotaged ourselves. Surgery is NOT the solution, learning to eat what we were designed to is. The food industry profits mightily from our failing health, and the “healthcare” industry is even happier to swoop in with costly and dangerous interventions to obscure the real issue…the food. It is not a medical problem, and surgery nor drugs are the real solution! If an adult opts for the surgical route it is sad, but foisting it on children is an unconscionable and abusive cop-out for simple education and exercising the inherent responsibility of being a parent. We are being overtly manipulated by industries who profit greatly from our ignorance and our desire for the quick, easy, fix due to our natural survival mechanisms that dictate we seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. (The “Pleasure Trap”) The solution starts with awareness, education, and a return to reasoning, and rejection of the blind consumerism we are brainwashed into daily on every level. We are not sheeple unless we chose to be, but what we are allowing industry to do to our children is criminal!

        1. Lynn, no matter how you slice it, surgery like this is always invasive, costly, risky and basically unnecessary because there is a much simpler solution: the WFPB diet.

          While I’m happy for you that you’ve lost weight & have become more comfortable with your body, my heart goes out to you because of how you got there.
          I don’t understand how our society is okay with the risks of having themselves cut open, but not okay with learning better eating habits.

          Putting children through this simply because the majority of people in our society have forgotten how to eat without causing major health risks, is unconscionable. It shows how sick & distorted our society has become on this subject.

          1. VegeTater, I agree with all you say, and I can’t help wondering if the parent who would agree to such surgery for a child will keep feeding that child the same food that caused the problem in the first place. If so, how is the surgical “solution” going to solve anything long-term? It isn’t!

            To me they should be giving the psychological work-up to both the parents who would permit such mutilation of their children AND doctors who would perform the surgery!

            As Dr Klaper says, “It’s the food!” This is the enormous elephant filling up the whole room, and that unseen elephant continues to grow because of confusion spread through industry manipulation and a medical profession that stubbornly refuses to accept the science that has long been published in medical journals.

        2. Hey Lynn,

          Although you say you are not “in one camp or the other”, your posts take a very clear pro bariatric surgery position. At least to me.

          While it sounds like you feel you made the right decision for yourself and are happy with the results, (which is great), saying that this type of surgery is “exceptionally easy” or that is “does not disfigure” is simply untrue. This is major surgery, with serious heath risks including death.
          And just because you can’t see your stomach doesn’t mean it has’t been disfigured. Also, high protein moderate fat diets are in no way healthy whether or not you have had surgery and whether or not your need to lose weight.

          I don’t usually comment on other people’s choices because it really is none of my business what you decide to do to your body.

          However, the fact that you are basing your advocacy for surgery on incomplete and erroneous information, really made me feel like I had to respond.

  3. Oh no! The good doc testified on behalf of the Oprah in her infamous hamburger trial? The trial that gave birth to those two charlatans Oz and Phil? I really, really, really dislike the crap these two have been selling for profit all these years. I cringe every time I see an Oz magazine with another “loose weight fast” scam on the cover. Too bad we can’t pull the licenses of these two. When Oz was called before congress, he was defensive and arrogant. Darn snake oil peddling entertainer. Green coffee, take this supplement, or that powder. Sorry for the rant. Those two idiots do real damage and harm to the public. It was me, I’d disassociate myself with that trail ASAP. I know, I really respect Dr, Gregor, and I expect his flock to come his defense about this. Still, it hurts his credibility just being mentioned with anything associated to those three; Oprah, Oz, and Phil.

  4. If the patient had been fixed by bags of apples and water, it would not be scientific nor modern. That would be too cruel.

    1. Panchito, don’t you know how CRUEL it would be to raise kids on a WFPB diet? Not when we can cut them open & staple their body parts. /s

      Besides, who could possibly profit from your bag-of-apples study?

      This is the screwed up culture we live in.

      1. And don’t forget, if the stapling doesn’t work, we can always drill holes in their tiny, little heads for the electrodes. /s

        People clinging to their staple guns & SAD diets.

    1. Ones diet has greater ability to impact ones weight than exercise. Evidence backed video on this topic are also available on this site.

    2. What are you sorry about, commenting before researching? Credible estimates I have seen are that weight management is 75-80% diet and 20-25 percent exercise. This means that exercise is an important factor in managing weight, but far less important than diet. If nutrition is not managed properly, exercise alone, for the average person, will not result in satisfactory reduction of obesity.
      Of course exercise is vital for health and is enormously important, but the topic is bariatric surgery, which relates only to diet.

  5. This has got to be a really big money maker for these anti-nutritional doctors and the big mobsters that run big pharma. How about instead going to a health retreat where they help to learn how to slowly reduce your food intake, and can teach you about nutrition, cooking, and give you psychological support. And, if that isn’t enough, you could even be taught self hypnosis instead of putting electrodes in your brain. There are many nutrition boot camps out there that can “fix” the brain patterns of over eating children and adults. I would rather spend my money on a nutrition boot camp than undergo the knife and lose a good deal of my digestive tract. But wait, if we did that then mainstream doctors would lose some cash flow, not to mention the poor pharmaceutical companies.

    1. Many people don’t understand that trying to just lower food intake usually doesn’t work. They are still hungry. The problem is What they eat!
      They have to change the Content of the diet. They can eat a high volume of salads, stir fries, etc. and feel full, not deprived. But it’s without a lot of calories, and with a high nutrient content. Then they will feel satisfied. That’s why a plant based diet works.
      But I’ve found it’s hard to get people to change. They seem to be emotionally involved in what they eat, the ‘live to eat’ mentality, vs. ‘eat to live’.

  6. I do hope that the children and the parent’s must…no option…go through a course or a set of lectures to educate them all. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t need further surgeries or education. This is a disgusting thing happening to children and so very sad. Without an intervention, these children may go down a path that they can’t get clear of as adults.

  7. Tragic.
    To think that you can achieve the same outcome and maintain that life long without going through major surgery…
    Unfortunaly medical superspecialists are so tunnel-visioned that they can only devise ways within their narrow fields to solve problems, missing the big picture…

  8. Check out the videos on Youtube about obesity in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt. They are doing full gastric bypass operations on kids as young as 11 or 12. These countries now are overtaking America as the fattest people on earth. They are attempting to educate children in school about fast food, but it’s too little too late. The parents have gotten the taste for gourmet fast food (every major fast food company is represented, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s as well as nearly every unhealthy chain restaurant in the US and Canada – Applebees, all the steakhouses & seafood chains) and it’s totally acceptable to feed it to kids three times a day.

    It’s so very sad to see the kids reaping the shame of obesity from their parents and peers. The stark reality is that these people’s grandfathers ate plant based and barely survived starvation while their grandchildren wolf down gourmet burgers and drive Lamborghinis.

    It’s not bad enough SAD has poisoned America. It’s now killing the rest of the world.

  9. Dr Dr Greger,
    Thank you for your work. What you have contributed to society has changed my life forever, and led me down a path of much better health and wellbeing.
    Unfortunately, prior to finding your work I had gastric bypass. I am part of the large percentage of bypass patients who have found themselves with malabsorption, weight gain, and other complications due to bariatric surgery. I was 18yrs old when I had my bypass, I’m 33 years old now.
    I know that hope for my furtive lies in having reversal of the roux en y gastric bypass. However, as you know, bariatric surgeons are not willing to admit that the surgery negatively impacts the body even though I have had severe abdominal pain for 15yrs. Bariatric docs I’ve consulted with have a hyper focus on the issue of weight regain should I have a reversal. Additionally, I can’t find a doctor who has done more than a handful of reversals. I have found plenty that do “revision”.
    I have found such hope and direction from your work, you were the only person I trust to advise me. Additionally, your program works! I’m down nearly 20lbs! I’m 33yrs old and the idea of living with (more accurately slowly dying from) malabsorption and abdominal pain in spite of eating a WFPB diet feels hopeless. I also fear being operated on by one of the bariatric doctors who claim to be skilled but don’t actually have experience reversing anyone and who fundamentally don’t believe the body works perfectly as it is. Some surgeons have suggested sleeving me (which would remove my remnant stomach!), or resecting the roux limb. The small amount of research out there suggests getting a patient back to “normal anatomy” does resolve absorption issues, but finding a surgeon who can do this has been next to impossible.
    I’m lost. The Facebook groups of people who have been reversed essentially just say find someone willing to do it and hope their technique is good. However, I’ve read enough to understand that how it is done is important (hand sewing vs linear stapling vs circular stapling and resecting vs reconnecting the roux limb for absorption of nutrients in the duodenum, etc).
    My prediction is that in the coming decade the rate of weight loss surgery reversal is going to skyrocket because the people who are 15-20 years out are going to be coming to hospitals with long term complications. I understand that reversal is routine in Europe because of that very reason, the complications of bypass are so numerous and costly that it is healthier and more cost effective to reverse patients 2years post op rather than pay for the inevitable long term complications.
    I have run out of energy after consulting with several bariatric doctors. They look at me like I’m crazy. Even after explaining my anemia and pain issues they still think I’m nuts for wanting a reversal. I cite research that indicates good outcomes for reversals, moderate to no weight gain, and resolution of malabsorption-yet they still insist that my real issue is weight and I should consider another weight loss surgery-I am 5’7” and 220lbs, down 20lbs thanks to you! I feel optimistic about more weight loss after having purchased your amazing cookbook, too!
    I guess what I’m saying is, I simply don’t trust the barbaric ways of modern medicine, yet I need one of those barbarians in order to be well…
    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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