Too Young? Teen Gets Stomach Band After Lipo

Less than a year after Brooke Bates got lipo, she had lap-band surgery.

ByABC News via logo
August 15, 2007, 7:14 AM

Aug. 15, 2007 — -- A Texas family that attracted national attention and controversy for letting its overweight 12-year-old daughter undergo liposuction has gone one step further.

Brooke Bates, 13, has gotten a gastric lap band surgically placed around her stomach to shrink it and reduce the amount she can eat.

Brooke has lost 15 pounds since the lap-band procedure and hopes to lose 50 more. She told "Good Morning America" today she feels "wonderful."

Brooke said she has always struggled with her weight. At her heaviest, she weighed 220 pounds. By early 2006 she lost 40 pounds through liposuction and a tummy tuck. But, in less than a year, she regained 35 pounds.

After the liposuction and tummy tuck, which cost $25,000, Brooke said she "went from the big, fat girl to the popular girl."

"Then I gained weight back and it was depressing," Brooke said. "But now that I had the lap band done, everything is just working out great."

Brooke's mother, Cindy Bates, said she was sad for Brooke when she began gaining weight after her first round of surgeries, but she said she didn't blame her daughter.

"It was the happiest year of her life and it was sad watching her, you know, struggle with trying to keep the weight off," Cindy said. "So that's the reason we did the lap band so she could control her hunger and how much food intake she was putting in her body every day."

Most doctors in the United States usually don't perform gastric lap-band surgery unless a patient is at least 18 years old, has a body mass index of 40 or higher or weighs at least twice his or her ideal weight.

So against the advice of their family doctor, the Bates traveled to Mexico to get the procedure done, without trying to find a local surgeon. The procedure cost $7,900.

"It seemed to be very safe over there and the clinic Brooke had it done in was very clean and the doctor has lots of experience so I was fairly confident," said Cindy.