Health Watch — Weight Loss Surgery: Older Patients

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 surgeries to help patients lose weight. Bariatric surgery can be effective for helping severely obese patients lose significant amounts of weight, but doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center say the surgery is potentially more dangerous and less effective for older adults.

Dr. Edward Livingston, chairman of gastrointestinal surgery at UT Southwestern, says that after age 65, more than 20 percent of patients had adverse effects following the surgery, and more than 3 percent died. Complications included gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiac problems. Others who have high rates of complications from bariatric surgery include those with diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease and depression.


November 2007

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.