How doctors are selling weight loss surgery to teens

Overweight teenagers in America are now undergoing laparoscopic gastric band surgery, a weight-loss procedure that isn’t even approved for anyone under 18 years old. But one California study last year found that gastric band operations for patients as young as 13 had increased seven-fold over the previous five years.

In gastric band surgery, an inflatable silicon ring is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach, which makes people feel full sooner and reduces the amount they eat. And there’s big money in those little rings. Allergan, the company that manufactures the Lap-Band® device, has estimated that sales of its obesity intervention products will top $240 million in 2011.  Continue reading