Girl, 12, Getting Life-Saving Obesity Surgery Today
Alexis Shapiro could lose 40 pounds in first year
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2014 1:59 PM CDT
Updated Mar 21, 2014 12:10 AM CDT
Alexis Shapiro   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) Alexis Shapiro, the Texas 12-year-old whose rare condition caused her to balloon to 203 pounds even while feeling constantly hungry, will finally get the life-saving surgery she's been waiting for today. Shapiro gained widespread attention last year when her family's insurance company refused to pay for gastric bypass surgery because she was so young; the family raised enough money to pay for the doctor-recommended procedure, but the insurance company ended up reversing its decision. Now that the surgery is at hand, "She’s nervous," mom Jenny tells NBC News. "Excited, but nervous. The last time she had surgery, her life totally changed."

It was a 2011 brain surgery that messed with Shapiro's metabolism, leaving her with hypothalamic obesity and panhypopituitarism. She would continue to gain about 2 pounds each week without this morning's surgery, with her weight going as high as 400 pounds, according to the pediatric obesity expert who will lead the operation. In addition to her stomach being made smaller, part of her vagus nerve will be snipped; that should help her to feel full after eating and to get more control over her appetite. The obesity expert predicts she'll lose about 40 pounds in the first year, but isn't sure she'll ever get back to "normal" and says she will likely always have to monitor her diet and exercise. Because of the interest in Shapiro's case, Cincinnati Children's Hospital will live-tweet the operation here. Why? "We wanted to be sure we didn’t have a ton of media on site," a hospital rep tells the Cincinnati Business Courier.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
Mar 21, 2014 11:05 AM CDT
Sewing her mouth shut? Seriously? This was a normal, healthy little girl until surgery for a brain tumor nicked her hypothalamic and caused her to have this new, obesity issue. Did you not read the article you ignorant prick? God Bless you baby girl, I hope this works and you can get your life back. My thoughts and prayers are with you sugar.
Mar 20, 2014 9:25 PM CDT
Not that this child or any obese person owes anyone else an explanation, but one NIH study of one type of surgery "revealed a success rate of 93% in obese or morbidly obese patients and 57% in super-obese patients" Another site commenting on another, most aggressive, type states "Estimated weight loss in the first 1- 2 years after a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass is approximately 1/2 to 2/3rd of excess weight. 50% excess weight loss has been documented 10 years and more after Gastric Bypass." I think one must keep in mind there are many physicians with a vested interest in people remaining UNsuccessful at weight loss; that they all either have web sites or appear on TV shows; many author books and have diets named after them; and that they earn huge amounts forever exhorting people to diet, exercise more and take all kinds of pills. From PBS: "There are literally hundreds of papers written about diets, but the trick is figuring out which studies are good and which are bad. **** Many studies are simply too small or don't stick with the subjects long enough to determine whether their diet plan was successful or not." Danish scientists undertook to review every study they could find for the last 30 years! "only 17 of the studies were reliable enough to be included" and the researchers said they could have really rejected even more studies! "The problem with a meta-analysis like this one is that the authors can't really design their own study so their conclusions are only as good as the data they find published in previous articles. Unfortunately, the quality of that data is not very good" However, bloggers are not so constrained and, therefore, fully understand everything there is to know on the subject. Perhaps they accept assertions by Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the like. They understand all there is to know and unlike scientists they see the one and only truth: if one person on earth loses weight and keeps it off then every other human ought to; a fortiori if thousands do so. If only they were heeded billions in research could end right this second and we could make it officially right and proper to scorn and ridicule overweight people. They are weak and immoral; bloggers are the backbone of the world! To hear bloggers tell it Oprah, one of the richest women on earth, is just too foolish and addicted to stuffing her face to spend her money on exercise machines; trainers; and dietitians who could so easily lead her to eternal skinny bliss and self respect. So get out those analytical terms like obviously I fail to understand; I overlooked; stupid; sick; idiot; ignorant; insane; take my meds; I must be obese; and, you know 15 people who yada yada ........ Your turn: BLOG AT ME AND MAKE IT LOUD AND PROFANE! Stay focused: the issue is ME & my arrogance, not obesity. You know who you are. Come on!
Mar 20, 2014 8:09 PM CDT
How about sewing mouth shut?