Two-year-old Saudi boy youngest to have gastric bypass surgery

The toddler's parents sought help after the boy's condition led him to suffer from bowlegs and sleep apnea, which caused him to stop breathing while asleep. All attempts to control the boy's weight by dieting had failed and his body mass index was a life-threatening 41, 'The Telegraph' reported.

The doctors conducted a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) in which they removed a section of his stomach. The surgery is irreversible. The case is documented in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.

The boy weighed a normal 3 kgs at birth and his parents do not have a history of morbid obesity. However, they had to take their son to an endocrinologist in Riyadh when he was 14 months old and weighed 21.3 kgs. He was put on a dietary regime, but four months later, his weight actually increased by another 8 kgs.

It was a puzzling case as the boy's hormonal and chromosomal tests came back normal and computed tomography (CT) showed no other causes of obesity such as pituitary or cerebellar tumour.

The child was then referred to an obesity clinic, but his weight continued to increase despite further attempts at dieting. It was at this stage, in 2010, that surgeons at Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Riyadh, decided to operate on him, despite his youth.

"To our knowledge LSG has never been tried in very young age children," the surgeons wrote in their report. "We present here probably the first case report of the successful management of a two year old morbidly obese boy," they wrote.

The boy lost 15 per cent of his body weight within two months. Two years after the surgery, his weight had fallen to 24 kg and his BMI of 24 was within the normal range.

"LSG may be used in very young children provided they have co-morbidities and no improvement with medical and conservative multidisciplinary management," the surgeons said.

"In our patient, the weight reduction was significant and his associated symptoms resolved with time indicating its safety and efficacy," they added.

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