TODAY   |  March 30, 2014

Texas girl improving rapidly after obesity surgery

A Texas girl with a rare metabolic problem that left her starving but gaining weight is out of the hospital and recovering after long-awaited obesity surgery. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>>> a young girl who recently had a lifesaving surgery. we've been sharing with you her story for months. a rare disease constantly made her hungry. just one week after surgery, this brave little girl is doing very well.

>> reporter: today alexis shapiro is out of the hospital but still under observation in cincinnati. her doctors say she's making important strides. already her diabetes has been reversed, she no longer needs insulin and she's not always hungry like she had been. in a statement to nbc news, her pediatric surgeon says she can eat four or five bites now and have a feeling of fullness that we all take for granted. alexis was a typical little girl two years ago before she had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor . afterwards her family discovered a part of her brain that regulates appetite and weight was damaged.

>> she woke up hungry. she never feels full and no matter what she's her body hangs up to it.

>> reporter: by 12 she was over 200 pounds, 4'7" and needed weight loss surgery . when the insurance company refused to pay for the surgery saying she was too young, the family got help from people around the world. they raised more than $85,000 online for the operation they felt alexis couldn't wait for.

>> the support we've gotten has been amazing.

>> reporter: then another big surprise, the insurer reconsidered its decision and will cover the cost saying before it had no information indicating that this patient had a rare disease . now new hope for alexis , that the operation will help her lose weight and gain her life back. for "today," rehema ellis, nbc news.