Adolescent Bariatric Surgery

Two Fort Myers teenage sisters who were medically diagnosed as severely overweight have successfully underwent adolescent bariatric surgery at Surgical Healing Arts Center in Fort Myers. Moses K. Shieh, D.O., founder and one of two bariatric surgeons at the weight-loss and bariatric surgery center, performed the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in July on Fernanda, 14, and Ana, 15, both of whom lost 20 pounds after seven days.

In this procedure, the left side of a patient’s stomach, which is the part of the stomach that produces the hunger-stimulating hormone Ghrelin, is removed. The surgery results in a small banana-shaped tube or sleeve becoming the new stomach pouch that extends from the natural stomach opening (esophagus). In addition to reducing the overall size of the stomach, the procedure helps limit eating and helps control hunger.

Dr. Shieh points out that the decision to perform surgery was based on a number of unique factors and criteria, and after comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations. One consideration was the fact that the girls showed no progress in organized weight-loss attempts, including diet and exercise over more than six consecutive months. And a hormonal imbalance and glandular issues further complicated matters.

As adolescent obesity and resulting diseases continue to increase, physicians like Dr. Shieh must critically assess and carefully weigh — in concert with patients, families and the medical community at large — the best treatment strategies for each individual.

“An important point for anyone undergoing this type of surgery is that it gives them a tool to lose weight when other activities proved to be unsuccessful,” Shieh said. “It’s a life-saving procedure, especially for adolescents who have a lot going on as they enter young adulthood.”
Additionally, children who are overweight typically have a greater chance of increased health risks as they mature — from a higher risk of fractures and hypertension, to cardiovascular disease and psychological issues.

Both girls said it was a family decision to go through with the surgery.

“I want to have a healthier life not only now but in the future, so I needed to do something that will help me live longer,” said Ana, who lost 20 pounds within seven days of surgery.

“I wanted to feel better, get healthier and participate in sports more often, which was complicated due to my condition,” Fernanda said.

Dr. Shieh is experienced in several major weight-loss surgical procedures, including LAP-BAND® gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, revisional bariatric surgery, Stomaphyx procedure, anti-reflux surgery, body contouring, and gastric band fills and adjustments.

Both physicians have surgical privileges at Lee Memorial Health System in Lee County and Physicians Regional Healthcare System in Collier County. They employ the latest and most-effective bariatric surgery techniques to help patients on their journey to a happier, healthier life. Surgical Healing Arts Center is located at 6150 Diamond Center Court, Suite 1300, in Fort Myers. For more information, call (239) 344-9786.

PHOTOS: Moses K. Shieh, D.O., P.A., FACS, bariatric physicians of Surgical Healing Arts Center in Fort Myers.

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