Should Teens Undergo Weight Loss Surgery?

We are in the midst of a national youth obesity epidemic, but is having weight loss surgery the right choice? The Doctors weigh in on teens undergoing bariatric surgeries to drop the pounds.

We are joined by Chris Powell from ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” and bariatric surgeon Dr. Dirk Rodriguez – who has performed 250 of these surgeries on teens – to discuss the trend of weight loss surgery for young people.

“Obesity is a real medical condition. It is a medical condition that has made the body inefficient. What surgery does is that it changes the body so it can become efficient again, so that when they practice good nutrition and exercise, the person can become healthy,” Dr. Rodriguez says. Adding, “The first thing I tell my patients is, if you’re coming to me to lose weight to look good for the prom, I’m the wrong guy. If you’re looking to become a healthy person for the rest of your life, we’re going to help you.”

Watch: Can You Pass Obesity To Kids in the Womb?

Chris explains that his approach is to try traditional methods like exercise and diet first and only after they have exacerbated those options and the teen has demonstrated they are mature enough to deiced on surgery would he recommend moving forward.

According to Dr. Rodriguez, after a 10-year examination of bariatric surgeries for teens, they have found that the experience of the surgery is no different than that of adults and not any more dangerous. He notes that keeping the weight off amounts to three things: surgery, nutrition, and exercise for the rest of their lives. Chris says in many cases therapy can also help the patient, as many suffer from an “emotional hunger” even after their physical hunger has been curbed.

The Doctors are also joined by Maegan, who underwent bariatric surgery as a teen. She calls it “the best decision” she’s ever made in her life. “Having [the surgery] as a teenager benefited me way more than it would have if I would have had it later in life… now I can enjoy my whole life,” she explains.

Watch: Plan to Save Morbidly Obese Teen

Watch the video below to hear Chris, Dr. Rodriguez, and The Doctors discuss the problem of those who had bariatric surgery, but then gain the weight back years later. Find out if there is hope for dealing with post-surgery weight gain.