Gastric Bypass May Help Obese Teens

Also, doctors say little is known about the long-term effects of this surgery.

Physicians, including the study authors, caution that gastric bypass surgery does not cure diabetes. If patients regain their weight, the diabetes can resurface.

Diabetes expert Dr. Steven Edelman a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says the surgery should be a last resort -- after patients have tried changing their lifestyle through diet and exercise. Edelman says when someone has the surgery, they are rearranging the atomic structure of the stomach and patients need to have life-long follow-up.

"This is not a small deal," he says. "This is a huge deal."

He also disagrees with study authors that the surgery somehow changes the way the body handles sugar.

"I would not bet two cents that there's anything fancy going on," he says. "You can see the same result [remission of diabetes] in those who lost the same amount of weight who don't have the surgery. "

Edelman also cautioned that this is a very small study, without long follow-up or a true control group for comparison.

All that said, the San Diego endocrinologist added the surgery is an alternative for extremely high risk children "who have failed all other medical and social interventions."

Inge agrees that this surgery is not for everyone, but says it must be considered as an option for teens who are severely obese. He says diabetes carries with it the risk of blindness, heart disease, liver disease and amputations. He says this surgery can lead to a "longer, more robust life."

That is what Munson is hoping for. She's now 19 and a college sophomore. Munson admits she still struggles with keeping off the weight. She has to watch what she eats, and how much, and take vitamins every day to ensure she's getting enough nutrients. Still, Munson believes she made the right choice for her.

"The results are that I have, finally, found who I am on the inside," she says, "and brought that person to the outside."

ABC News' Michelle Schlief and Dan Childs contributed to this report.

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