Bariatric Surgery a Safe and Effective Choice for Older Adults

Two Senior Women Walking Outside With Water Bottles

At information sessions and first appointments, people often ask us the question, "Am I too old for weight-loss 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 added burden to the joints (which may already be strained due to age) and can make other existing health conditions worse. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 2015 to 2016, the obesity rate among older adults was at 41 percent.

People with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 are considered obese. Those with a BMI of 35 or more who also have an obesity-related condition such as diabetes, and those with a BMI of 40 or greater are considered severely obese.

When 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, bariatric surgery could help you safely return to and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Ready to take the first step?

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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