Girl, 12, to undergo life-saving gastric bypass surgery at Children's

AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - A 12-year-old in need of life-saving gastric bypass will undergo surgery Friday morning at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Alexis Shapiro suffers from hypothalamic obesity, a rare disorder that has caused her to gain almost 2 pounds a week despite every attempt to slow down her weight gain. Alexis now weights almost 200 pounds.

"Currently Alexis has a condition that drives an enormous hunger for her. She also has a condition that does not allow her to feel the kind of fullness after a meal that people normally feel," said Dr. Thomas Inge.

He will perform the surgery on Friday.

Alexis's condition happened after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. While successful, that surgery crushed her hypothalamus and resulted in her large weight gain.

At first -- Tricare -- her health insurance provider, denied the gastric bypass surgery on the grounds that she was too young. It has since approved it. Now, doctors hope to save her life with the procedure and they say it is appropriate despite her young age.

"I can tell you that I'm not seeing or sensing that 12-year-olds have any greater risk of the surgery in terms of the safety," said Inge.

"She is excited about the surgery, but nervous. So are her dad and I," wrote Alexis's mom in a Cincinnati Children's blog post. Click here to read the post

Staffers at Children's will also live tweet the surgery because gastric bypass is so rare for children. Children's Hospital has also started an online registry for patients who suffer from hypothalamic obesity.

Children's says you can follow Alexis' journey using the hashtag #HyObesity. Cincinnati Children's Twitter handle is @CincyChildrens.

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