Eight-year-old undergoes second weight loss surgery

Zoya Khan developed respiratory infections after first operation

Seven years after 11-month-old Zoya Khan became the youngest to undergo a weight loss procedure, she went under the knife for the second time on Saturday for a revision surgery. Doctors said Zoya’s stomach had expanded despite the first surgery due to which she continued to gain weight and developed sleep apnea and respiratory infections.

Zoya weighed 19 kg when she was first operated in November 2011 at Breach Candy Hospital. Now eight, the girl weighed 39.6 kg. “Her stomach had dilated despite the sleeve gastrectomy that was performed on her earlier. We have now done a revision sleeve gastrectomy,” bariatric surgeon Dr. Mohit Bandhari said. Dr. Bandhari performed the surgery at MPCT Hospital in Navi Mumbai along with Dr. Mathias Fobi, who is popular as the Hollywood’s weight loss surgeon.

Sleeve gastrectomy involves reducing the size of the stomach and stapling it. “Stomach is the most elastic organ in the body. After her first surgery, the parents did not follow any dietary constraints that were required. She continued to eat voraciously which led the stomach to expand rapidly,” Dr. Bhandari said.

He said the revision surgery involved further reducing the size of the stomach. The doctors observed that Zoya’s average intake was up to 2,500 calories a day. Because of the obesity, Zoya has never learned to stand or walk either.

“We did a CT scan which showed that her stomach had grown like an adult. We have removed 85% of the stomach now. The fundus, a portion of the stomach which is responsible for ghrelin (hunger hormone) secretion, has also been removed. This will help her feel satiated faster,” he said. To prevent the stomach from expanding again, Dr. Bhandari has put a non-adjustable silicon ring around it.

Zoya’s father Yusuf does odd jobs for a living while her mother Tajkhatun is a home maker. They live in a slum at Santacruz. The couple’s first son Faizan died when he was 18 months old. He weighed 22 kg at that time. The doctors suspected that Faizan suffered from a genetic abnormality due to which he put on weight and eventually succumbed. Zoya too, they suspected, has the same problem.

“She made it this far because of the first surgery. But due to the enlarged stomach, she began developing the same problems like sleep apnea and respiratory distress which made the revision surgery necessary,” Dr. Bhandari said.

Zoya’s first bariatric surgeon Dr. Sanjay Borude, however, said it was not the right time to put her under the knife again. “She was gaining weight because her parents were not following the dietary restrictions. Her intake consists of fried food, sweets, and anything that her neighbours would offer the family besides the food cooked at home. I had recommended her for physiotherapy,” Dr. Borude told The Hindu.

Zoya’s parents said they cannot control her eating. “She demands food every half an hour. I have no choice but to give her whatever is available,” her mother said. “Dr. Borude told us not to do the surgery. But this doctor explained to us that it will be a minor procedure that will only help Zoya. So we gave our consent,” she said.

Dr. Prince Surana, director of Surana Group of Hospitals which manages MPCT Hospital, said the procedure was carried out free of cost.

“We will also be taking care of her occupational therapy, diet consultations, and overall medical care,” Dr. Surana said.

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