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Liposuction on a 12 Year Old

Posted Oct 18 2008 4:10pm 5 Comments

There is a story out of Texas about a 12 year old girl who is reportedly the youngest person ever to get liposuction. It was performed for weight loss purposes, since she was morbidly obese and was not able to lose weight with more traditional methods like diet and exercise. Her surgeon, Dr. Robert Ersek, who calls himself "the biggest fat sucker in Texas," lived up to his moniker when he liposuctioned 35 pounds of fat from Brooke's arms, back and upper midsection in March and removed another 10 pounds — most of it skin — in May by doing a tummy tuck.
Ersek acknowledged it was "a mega amount" of fat and "off the scale," but he is not alone in doing large-volume liposuction or in doing the procedure for weight loss. He cites other plastic surgeons who agree with him in a 2004 book he co-authored, "Mega Lipo."

I have two main problems with this.
First, liposuction or tummy tucks on a pre-teen are just plain wrong. Children who are 12 years old do not have the mental maturity to be able to make the decision to have elective plastic surgery performed on them. This is a decision that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Also, if I were to perform cosmetic plastic surgery on a child my wife (a pediatrician) would kill me.
Second, liposuction is not a procedure for weight loss. It is a procedure that is best used for body contouring in order to get rid of areas of fat which are not amenable to diet and exercise. 35 pounds of fat is roughly 15 liters. Any surgeon knows that removal of 15 liters from a person's body will create massive fluid and electrolyte shifts which could make a person very sick. I stop my liposuction amount at approximately 5 liters (or 10 lbs), which is, I believe, the recommendation from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

I once had an Asian mom call me up to inquire about cosmetic blepharoplasty on her son. I asked her how old he was. She told me he was 7. Yes, SEVEN! I asked her, "Do you think he has the maturity to make a decision to have plastic surgery?"
She answered, "He tells me he wants the surgery all the time."
I couldn't believe that this mom would even consider plastic surgery for her child. He was not deformed, either, but wanted a "double fold" to look more caucasian. I didn't know who to feel more sorry for: the kid who at age 7 had self-image problems, or his mom who must go through life as a complete tool.

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My name is Cindy Bates.  I am Brooke mother. 

Brooke is doing great! She's now 16 years old and is having the time of her life with her new body.  She continues to hold her weight around 142 to 147.  She works out daily with Jump roping.  Thanks to her PE teacher Ms. Craft AT Murchison Elem. for introducing her kids to jump roping.

Brooke went from a size 22-24 pants to a size 8 in 4 months thru Liposuction, Tummy Tuck and Lapband.  I didnt see these results with just dieting and exercising. Dont get the wrong picture here. I think exercising on a regular basis is the key to being healthy.  Thankyou to Dr. Ersek  and Dr. Arturo Rodriguez in Monterey Mexico for changing my daughters life!  She has now had a breast lift and we are finally finished with all surgeries.  I do agree that these surgeries arnt for every 12 year old child that has a small weight problem, but it has been the great to watch my daughter walk with her head held high and not be ashamed about what she looks like.  She was Beautiful when she was overweight to me , but she didnt feel that way after being pointed at and laughed at.  Life is Great for us.  I dont have to hear my sweet little girl cry when she gets out of school or comes back from the mall because someone hurt her feelings.  People look at her now in a totally different way. Confidence is Everything!!!

We have been called everything from Crazy to Child Abusers and I think parents that dont try to help their child to fit in  this cruel society are the Child Abusers! It bothers me greatly to hear parents of overweight children say...My child is happy and he or she is overweight.  Well, truth be known, your child is just a miserable as mine.  Not all children come home and tell the horrible things that others have said them throughout the day.  Its embarressing, and hurtful to think back on just how horrible their day was. I am very lucky that my child shared all of her personal stories with me after someone said something that was hurtful.  I feel for the fat kids that get looked down upon when they eat lunch in the school cafeterias too.  My daughter got to the point where she wouldnt eat at all during lunch hour at school because of people pointing.  Until parents teach kids not to laugh at others and schools take action against bullying these children will always feel different and ashamed.  Its not fair, but its reality!

Its ok to let your teen get plastic surgery! People have said that I have contradicted myself in some of the articles but I just wasnt sure what to say sometimes without being ridiculed.  Ive come to the conclusion that it doesnt matter what I say because theres always going to be negative people that sit their fatass's at the computer all day and pick people apart.  One word to those people..... Get off of your fatass and go exercise your body and not your mouth.   Some say she took the easy way out, but in all honesty this wasnt the easy way out.  I dont consider having Four  surgeries the easy way out.  I know that i could stand to lose a few pounds myself and I could easily do what my daughter chose to do, but Im too scared of the pain.  I think she's a brave little girl that was determined to fit in. Thanks to those great shows on the Discovery channel and to Brookes Doctors for understanding that not all children can eat a normal diet and maintain a healthy weight.  We are all made up different and I do believe that genetics play a huge roll in obesity. I research everyday about obesity and we are also in the process of getting genetic testing.  Thankyou.

Thankyou to all who have left positive comments.  We really appreciate you understanding why we chose to step outside of the box. 

To all Parents of teens that dont fit in wether it be weight, little nose, big ears or whatever ... Screw what everybody else thinks about letting your child have surgery.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion and back in our day we all worried about what others thought, including what our own parents thought but Dont forget whos kids they are and who is in charge of their emotional well being.  I had some family members and friends that tried to discourage me from letting Brooke have this done but I can tell you that Im so Thankful that I didnt let them change my mind. 

One last thing.  Dont believe everything that you hear or read about us.  We are Christians and I just knew that God wouldnt take us to it and not lead us through it! Someone said that she gained all of her weight back after the liposuction and thats the reason that I took her to Monterrey to get the lapband.  Well, she did gain 8 to 10 pounds back after the Liposuction but i think it was due to lack of mobility during her recovery period.  Maybe I overreacted and rushed her to Get the lapband, but I had seen a side of Brooke that I had never seen before when she went from a plus size teen to a size 8 teen and I just simply couldnt see her go back to being the depressed kid that she was before.  I knew that the lapband would help her to maintain her weight and not let her overeat.  It worked great.  The reason for the Mexico lapband was because most doctors wont touch a kid under the age of 18, and much less one thats not obese anymore.  They laughed when i said it was to maintain her current weight. I still dont understand why a person has to be obese before we start to tackle the problem.  If I saw that my child was gaining weight and not eating junk food and exercising I would take them immediately to get the lapband to prevent future weight gain.  Why wait until the problem is huge.  Some think that the hospitals in Mexico are dirty but I wouldnt have let my child get the procedure done if it wouldnt have been spotless.  I can honestly tell you that the entire time that she was at the hospital in Mexico i watched a lady walk around with disinfectant cleaners and its more than I can say for alot of Medical facilities in the United States that ive been to.  It was also cheaper there for the same procedure.  Approx 17k here and 7K there.  Im not a rich lady and I didnt insurance wasnt going to pay for this.

Who knows what the future holds, but At least I know that the rest of her teen years will be spent with lots of confidence and this plays such a huge roll in their future as well.  If you Look Good ... You Feel Good!!

If you Look Good You Feel Good!

If you Look Good You Feel Good!

Can you tell that Im happy about the decision that we made? Lol.


Please let your Teen have a Life! It doesnt cost as much as the new car in the driveway

I thought I was finished, but I just looked at the picture thats posted on this website and It made me think of something else to say.

When I sat down with some of the media people to go over the story and look at pictures I didnt realize that they were gonna use her younger photos for the headlines of the articles.  She was 12 when she had the surgery, not 5.  Good Morning America used a picture that was taken when she was 5 years old, tears in her eyes and in the hospital getting her 5th set of eartubes.  Clearly had nothing to do with this surgery, but of course it made it look like that poor child was forced into doing having Lipo.  Not a big deal. Im sure most people knew that the picture didnt have anything to do with the Lipo.  I just had to get that off of my chest.  Thankyou

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