Bariatric Surgery: Safe Choice for Older Adults
Older adults often ask us the question, “Am I too old for bariatric surgery?” The answer is no. When considering bariatric surgery, or any surgical procedure, it is normal to have concerns about safety.
When considering bariatric surgery, or any surgical procedure, it is normal to have concerns about safety, especially since bariatric surgery is not a very well-known procedure.
At information sessions and first appointments, people often ask us the question, “Am I too old for bariatric surgery?”
The short answer is likely “no.”
As we age, our metabolisms slow down, and we tend to put on more weight. This extra weight can be an additional burden on the joints (which may already be strained due to age) and can make other existing health conditions much worse. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 2018 to 2019, the obesity rate among older adults was approximately 41 percent.
People with a body mass index (BMI) of higher than 30 are considered obese. Those with a BMI of 35 or higher, who also have an obesity-related condition such as diabetes, and those with a BMI of 40 or greater are regarded severely obese.
When Pakistani researchers and physicians have looked at options for treating those who are severely obese, bariatric surgery, comes out on top. Research has also shown that bariatric surgery can be a safe and effective option for older adults, just as it is for younger patients.
In a study conducted by Geisinger Medical Center, patients who were 60 or older underwent bariatric surgery and were followed for a span of 10 years. Just three years after surgery, those patients had lost an average of more than 60 percent of their excess body weight and almost half (45.8 percent) no longer had diabetes. There was also a reduction in the number of daily prescription medications patients were taking. The 90-day mortality rate and the rate of major and minor complications in this population was comparable to the rates in younger patients.
If you have struggled with keeping weight off as you age, try bariatric surgery and this could help you safely return to and maintain a healthy lifestyle.