At age eleven, Brooke Bates weighed one hundred and eighty pounds, had high blood pressure and was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. One year later she had grown to two hundred and twenty pounds and was diagnosed as morbidly obese.
She endured the cruelties that accompany being overweight at such a young age. Targeted by many of her peers as an object of ridicule, Brooke recalled being so harassed by boys in junior high that she was reduced to tears. Bates admitted a few years later that she had considered killing herself because she felt so unattractive.
Then, in September of 2005, Brooke saw a television documentary about liposuction and concluded that the procedure was the solution to her weight problems.
Liposuction For Twelve-Year-Old Brooke
Initially, Brooke’s parents were resistant to the idea of liposuction but finally acquiesced. The doctor who performed the procedure initially refused to do it but changed his mind when Brooke’s father was diagnosed with bladder cancer that was thought to be terminal by the family. Brooke stated she wished for her father to see her model a dress over a slim and attractive body before he died.
Although liposuction is traditionally used to sculpt bothersome areas by removing no more than ten pounds, Brooke had thirty-five pounds removed in a single session. The doctor who performed the surgery had wanted to do several lesser sessions over the course of a year or two, but when Brooke shared her desire to model for her father prior to his supposed death the doctor was touched and made the procedure a one day affair. Two months later Brooke had a tummy tuck. The $25,000 fee for these procedures was not covered by medical insurance.
LAP-Band Surgery for Thirteen-Year-Old Brooke
In less than one year, Brooke regained thirty-five of the forty pounds that had been lost through the liposuction and tummy tuck. Doctors in the United States will not perform gastric band surgery unless the patient meets certain medical criteria. Against the advice of her doctor, Brooke was off to Mexico to have the surgery done where the regulation was less stringent. This uninsured round of surgery was $7900.
More Plastic Surgery Procedures
At age fifteen, Brooke had additional liposuction performed on her arms and legs as well as breast implants. The implants cost $8500.
Brooke admits she has become obsessed with her looks, but does not see this as problematic. She also states that she goes to a tanning salon daily, has her hair dyed bleach blond once a month, and is constantly getting her nails done and buying makeup. Her parents continue to finance all of this, including nearly sixteen thousand dollars spent for beauty products.
Too Young for Bariatric Surgery?
Many questions have been raised regarding Brooke Bates and her family, including assertions that there is much dysfunction at play. Others are more supportive.
Childhood obesity is cruel and unforgiving. And it can be a life-threatening illness. Is it right or wrong for a parent to go to extreme measures to ensure a child's emotional and physicial well-being? You will need to decide for yourself.