|2009-03-28||Surgery helps obese 10-yr-old shed flab|
Surgery helps obese 10-yr-old shed flab
Malathy Iyer | TNN | Mar 28, 2009, 03.14 AM IST
MUMBAI: Losing 71 kilos within two years is quite a task. It is more so when you are only a 10-year-old boy. But considering that Sagar Balani
from Ulhasnagar underwent a surgery to refashion his stomach in March 2007, it is not surprising that he managed to shrug off all that extra weight.
Even as medical experts ponder over the ethical considerations of letting an eight-year-old undergo the irreversible bariatric surgery to lose weight, Sagar's parents Pappu and Neetu Balani seem ecstatic. "Sagar weighed 115 kg when he was eight, he could barely walk and would be seated all day long,'' said his father, a garment trader from Ulhasnagar. "Now, my son is 44 kg, plays downstairs the whole day and cycles like any other child his age. He is first class,'' he added.
Egged on by Sagar's weight-loss, his mother, too, underwent the surgery last year__coming down to 72 from 103 kilos.
The surgeon who operated on Sagar, Pune-based Dr Shashank Shah, defends operating on the child, saying, "It is an one-off move, given the boy's poor health.'' When Sagar was brought to Dr Shah, he had high sugar levels and was unable to breathe. "It was Sagar's family doctor who approached me, saying he had exhausted all means of controlling the boy's health problems and frequent hospitalisation,'' said Dr Shah.
Only morbidly obese persons can undergo bariatric surgery, in which the size of the person's stomach is reduced. Patients with an BMI of 33 as well as co-morbidity such as hypertension and diabetes or patients with an BMI of 37 without any co-morbidity are eligible. "Two years ago, Sagar had an BMI of 80,'' said Dr Shah.
Bariatric surgery has been growing at a fast pace across the world. In India, 1,200 such surgeries were carried out in 2008. In 2007, the figure stood at around 800. Although it is now considered a "life-saving operation'' for morbidly obese persons, the operation itself carries a huge risk (almost 1%). There also have been cases of operated people suffering from chronic vitamin deficiency.
Metabolic surgeon Dr Ramen Goel, who operates at Bombay Hospital, said bariatric surgery cannot become the rule for young children. "Parents should not look at it as a cure for childhood obesity. Even for adoloscents, the surgery is carried out only in a few centres, under stringent research protocols, in the US,'' he said.
Another surgeon pointed out that children below 12 years of age are in a growing phase. "When children attain puberty, a lot of changes take place in their body. We should wait for the growth phase before carrying out such an irreversible operation,'' said the doctor.
SIDE-EFFECTS OF BARIATRIC SURGERY
- Hospital deaths after bariatric surgery is less than 1%
- Roughly 1 in 5 patients require re-hospitalization for corrective treatment
- In 10% cases, there could be infection and bleeding.
-Risk of deep venous thrombosis is 2 %
- Long-term complications include severe GERD, stomal stenosis, gastric prolapse, band erosion or migration
- Stomach pains after meals (over-eating)
- Nutritional deficiencies during liquid diet
- Reduced weight loss due to non-compliance with post-operative dietary and exercise guidelines