How young is too young for weight loss surgery? Today, an estimated 13 million kids are considered “obese” in North America and a growing number of those kids are now losing weight by getting gastric bypass or lap band procedures. And get this: Some of the kids are as young as 14!

Kristin is a girl we read about who had gastric bypass surgery when she was 17\. By that time, she weighed **340 pounds** and even though she says she tried everything to lose weight, her obesity caused her to feel hopeless and depressed. But since getting surgery, she’s lost 150 pounds, and she says feels better about herself.

So is surgery right for kids? Dr. Mark Wulkan is chief surgeon at Children’s Health Care in Atlanta. He says for some kids, weight loss surgery is truly a “life or death decision” - because without it they might die from being morbidly overweight.

However, Dr. Wulkan warns that surgery is not a quick fix to help you be “pretty for the prom.” In fact, all patients – regardless of age – go through an intense, month-long screening program before they’re even considered for surgery and in most cases, he recommends psychological counseling over a weight loss procedure.

He adds that even with a successful surgery, teens are still at a higher risk for long-term complications. That’s why Dr. Wulkan says surgery should only be considered as a last resort.