Health Watch — Senior Issues: Weight Loss Surgery

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about health issues that affect older adults. Previously, we mentioned the fact that the oldest seniors — those over 85 — may lose too much weight. But for people older than 65 who need to lose weight, one method may not be recommended.

Bariatric surgery helps the very obese lose weight by restricting the size of the stomach. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that people older than 65 were less likely to have good results from bariatric surgery, and they were more likely to have complications. Dr. Edward Livingston, chairman of gastrointestinal surgery at UT Southwestern, says adverse outcomes with this surgery increased with age. Complications included heart problems, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory problems. Also, older patients generally required longer hospital stays following the surgery.


May 2007

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