A 2-year-old obese toddler from Saudi Arabia has become the youngest person ever to undergo bariatric surgery. According to News.com.au, the young boy weighed 33 kg (72.7 lbs) and had a body mass index (BMI) of 41, which severely affected his breathing and caused him to have sleep apnea.
The three doctors who performed the surgery, Mohammed Al Mohaidlya, Ahmed Sulimana and Horia Malawib, say the child weighed 21.3 kg (46.9 lbs) at 14 months old, but his weight ballooned to 8 kg (17.6 lbs) after dieting unsuccessfully for four months, according to the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.
As News.com.au notes, by the time the boy wound up at Prince Sultan Military Medical City, an obesity clinic, he weighed 29.4 kg (64.9 lbs). After a second failed attempt at dieting, doctors decided to perform bariatric surgery on the child.
The surgery they performed is known as a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, a procedure in which doctors remove a large part of the stomach and shape what is left into something resembling a tube. The surgery is irreversible.
"To our knowledge LSG has never been tried in very young age children," the surgeons said in their report. "We present here probably the first case report of the successful management of a two year old morbidly obese boy."
According to News.com.au, the boy lost 15 percent of his body weight just two months after the surgery. Two years after the surgery, which took place in 2010, the boy’s weight dropped from 33 kg (72.7 lbs) to 24 kg (52.9 lbs), and his BMI was at 24.
News.com.au spoke to professor Paul Zimmett of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, who warned of the dangers involved in operating on someone so young. "It's rather like the other day when we saw one of our spacecrafts going out of our solar system into the dark regions of space, it's going into unknown territory," Zimmett said. "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."