Inge explains that the surgery appears to result in a decrease of appetite hormones produced by the gut that lead the brain to incorrectly think the patient is constantly hungry. Inge said that along with the physical health toll that results from hypothalamic obesity, there is a mental and social cost for patients.
"I do not remember at all any kind of fear factor with her," said Inge of meeting Alexis to discuss the surgery. "I will say by the time these teenagers get to me. They've gone through so much in their own lives… I think a lot of soul searching happens before they get to my office."
Alexis' family said they have decided they want to go forward with the surgery and currently are raising money to help with medical costs. As of Monday they had reached more than $71,000. Inge estimates it will take roughly $50,000 for the surgery and a year of post-operative recovery and check-ups.
According to a Shapiro the family's insurance company, TRICARE and Humana Military, initially turned down their claim, but the family is appealing. Officials at the insurance company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shapiro said if the insurance company does not approve the surgery, they will use the money from the online fundraiser to cover the cost.
Shapiro said Alexis understood the fact that the surgery might not work for her and that it would affect her for the rest of her life.
"She is also very excited and she wants to do it. [We explained] it's going to be hard and it's going to be hard after the surgery but she might get her life back," said Shapiro. "She said that she's no worse off than she is now. She can't do anything now so why not try something different."