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Teen Girls Drawn to Risky Weight-Loss Surgery

Gastric banding is popular—but not FDA-approved for youths
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2010 4:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – Teen girls are lining up for a weight-loss surgery known as gastric banding, prompting concerns from health experts who fear many may be sacrificing their well-being to look skinny, the Daily Beast reports. Banding is pitched as a safer, less invasive procedure than gastric bypass, and it's gaining popularity among adults. Even though it hasn't been approved by the FDA for adolescents, the number of teen girls having it done through clinical trials is rising dramatically, writes Alizah Salario.

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One big problem with this is that long-term studies suggest it's not as safe as thought. A 10-year survey found a complication rate (including band erosion and food intolerance) of 74% and a failure rate near 40%. No matter: Ads and billboards (not to mention YouTube channels) for banding are in abundance. Wonders Salario: "If the procedure gets the green light from the FDA, what will happen when an industry that already capitalizes on overweight adults’ vulnerabilities is allowed to target teens?" (Read more gastric banding surgery stories.)

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