Surgery Begins for Texas Girl Battling Rare Obesity

Dr. Thomas Inge, a pediatric obesity expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, examines Alexis Shapiro, 12, before she receives life-changing weight-loss surgery on Friday. A brain tumor two years ago left Alexis with a rare condition that damaged her metabolism, causing her to gain massive amounts of weight. Gastric bypass surgery should help correct the problem, Inge said. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Alexis Shapiro, a 12-year-old Texas girl battling a rare form of obesity caused by brain surgery two years ago, was headed into a Cincinnati Children's Hospital operating room Friday for life-changing weight-loss surgery.

Hospital officials, trying to protect the family from an international media spotlight that has sprung up around the case, banned outside cameras and videos from the premises. Instead, they'll offer live-Tweets of the expected three-hour operation as it progresses.

Dr. Thomas Inge and colleagues will perform gastric bypass surgery and also snip a portion of the vagus nerve to help her shed some of her 203 pounds and curb a ravenous appetite caused by severe metabolic problems.

Readers can log in for coverage at NBC News and @CincyChildrens and follow #HyObesity to check on Alexis and her parents, Jenny and Ian Shapiro of Cibolo, Texas.

Hospital officials say the surgery is about to get underway.

Jenny Shapiro gives Alexis one last kiss before her oldest child is wheeled away.

Inge and his surgical partner, Dr. Michael Helmrath, scrub in for the operation.