Surgical weight loss >65 years old: is it worth the risk?

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Sep-Oct 2010;6(5):491-6. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2009.09.020. Epub 2009 Nov 10.


Background: Weight loss surgery in patients >65 years old has been underused, secondary to the morbidity and mortality concerns of healthcare providers. Comparative outcomes analyses of this patient population have been lacking. The purpose of the present report was to evaluate the safety and outcome of gastric bypass in patients >65 years of age.

Methods: A prospective database was used to analyze the safety, operative morbidity, and outcome. All patients undergoing surgery since January 2005 were included.

Results: The analysis of 1474 patients demonstrated a greater operative risk profile for patients >65 years (n = 100) compared with those <65 years old (n = 1374) related to sleep apnea (45% versus 34%), diabetes mellitus (65% versus 33%), and hypertension (81% versus 57%). The operative outcomes were similar for the 2 groups as determined by the operative time (70 versus 65 minutes), length of stay (1.97 versus 1.3 days), and 30-day readmission rate (6.0% versus 7.4%). The postoperative complication rates were low in the patients >65 years old (bleeding 1.0%, pulmonary 3.0%, cardiac 2.0%, wound 2.0%, and 30-day mortality rate 0%). The percentage of excess body weight loss in the gastric bypass patients was similar between the patients >65 years old and those <65 years old at 12 months (74.8% versus 77.8%) and 24 months (83.4% versus 78.5%).

Conclusion: Our experience represents one of the largest series of laparoscopic gastric bypass in elderly patients. The data have demonstrated excellent outcomes compared with a younger population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bariatric Surgery / methods*
  • Bariatric Surgery / mortality
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / mortality
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss