Stomach Mutilation in Children

Riolriri at She Dances On The Sand pleads to know if she is the only person opposed to bariatric surgery in children. This is my reply.

You are not alone.

I am uncomfortable with any cosmetic surgery in children who are not severely disfigured. I think surgeons should wait until teens are at least at the age of consent. I think ethical ones do.

When it comes down to it, though, other cosmetic surgeries are not as dangerous as bariatric surgery. They do not have a 2% perioperative mortality rate (within 30 days of surgery) 4.6% mortality within a year. They do not cause beri beri, with permanent neurological damage. They do not cause peripheral neuropathy. They do not limit the amount of fluid one can drink when exercising or feverish, promoting dehydration. They don't cause chronic vomiting and malabsorbtion of what does stay down.

These surgeries are extremely dangerous for even adults, but adults have a right to mutilate themselves if they want.

Parents should not have free reign to mutilate their children for the sake of appearance. Hell, I oppose circumcision on this ground. And circumcision doesn't cause devastating malnutrition which can stunt growth and result in lifelong neurological damage.

For details on the actual mortality risks of obesity as opposed to bariatric surgery, see this brilliant post from Sandy on Junkfood Science on the actual risks of dying from obesity.


Anonymous said...

The risks of bariatrics in children go far beyond what most people might imagine, yet they are being heavily promoted for children, most targeting those suffering from depression and victimized by fat prejudices and told they're going to die if they don't agree to them. It is heartbreaking:

Krista said...

My statement on it was short, but sweet:

Absolutely, positively opposed.