The shocking story of a 2-year-old Saudi Arabian boy who had gastrectomy surgery was reported on by Fox News on Sept. 19 and is causing some strong outcry. In 2010, the Saudi boy, who looked like a miniature sumo wrestler, weighed a whopping 73 pounds and had a morbidly high BMI (Body Mass Index) of 44 – the equivalent of what a 6 foot, 325 pound man would have.
The boy was born a normal weight, but after just one year of age, he had already packed on 46 pounds. Doctors placed the boy on a strict diet, but somehow he still managed to gain weight over the next four months.
Pediatricians and endocrinologists ruled out any chemical or hormonal imbalance that was causing the boy to gain absurd amounts of weight, says a report published in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports. So how was it that the child was gaining an average of 5 pounds per month?
“Although the parents were informed about the importance of a strict dietary regimen a full compliance cannot be ascertained mainly due to the different socio cultural habits and the absence of the practice of calculating the calorific value of the diet,” the Journal said.
In other words, the parents could not keep their small child from eating them out of house and home.
The increase in weight led to severe sleep apnea for the 2-year-old, as well as a condition called Genu varum or “bowing of the legs” – a physical deformity marked by an outward leg bowing, caused by the enormous weight the legs were trying to support.
The child then went to an obesity clinic, where doctors finally decided to perform a Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG), a permanent procedure in which a portion of the stomach is removed. The boy became the youngest person ever to have such a procedure done.
"To our knowledge LSG has never been tried in very young age children," the surgeons say in their report. "We present here probably the first case report of the successful management of a two year old morbidly obese boy."
Since the 2010 surgery, the child has seen remarkable results. In the two years since the procedure, the boy has lost 52 pounds, and his BMI was lowered to a more reasonable 24 percent.
A Spotlight article on CNN carried an “after” photo.
Fox News also ran a commentary piece by "Dr. Manny," who wrote that he was "shocked" at this report.