12-year-old dramatically improves after obesity surgery

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Published March 30, 2014

| Newser

Texas 12-year-old Alexis Shapiro had long-fought-for the obesity surgery she got on March 21, and just a week later, the girl's situation has dramatically improved.

She's already off the insulin she had to take in connection with her type 2 diabetes and, most significantly, her body is indicating to her that it feels full after she eats—in comparison to her feeling constantly starved before.

The absence of that fullness cue pushed her weight to more than 200 pounds on her 4-foot-7 frame, a condition that resulted from damage her hypothalamus sustained during surgery she underwent two years ago related to a benign brain tumor.

“There was no sign of her diabetes 24 hours after the surgery,” said Dr. Thomas Inge, the doctor in charge of Alexis' care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (he explains how this is possible on the hospital's blog).

Alexis left the hospital on Friday; after another week in Cincinnati for observation, she'll head back to Cibolo, Texas. The sleeve gastrectomy surgery she underwent left no more than 25% of her stomach intact, per the blog; Alexis is currently on a soft diet of protein drinks, yogurts, and puddings, consumed roughly five teaspoons at a time.

She has reported feeling full after three, reports NBC News. Doctors won't know how much weight she may have already lost for about another week, but Inge predicts she could drop about 40 pounds in the next few months.

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