Perioperative and 1-year outcomes of bariatric surgery in septuagenarians: implications for patient selection

Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2019 Oct;15(10):1805-1811. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Aug 12.


Background: Although bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for obesity, utilization of bariatric procedures in older adults remains low. Previous work reported higher morbidity in older patients undergoing bariatric surgery. However, the generalizability of these data to contemporary septuagenarians is unclear.

Objectives: We sought to evaluate differences in 30-day outcomes, 1-year weight loss, and co-morbidity remission after bariatric surgery among 3 age groups as follows: <45 years, 45-69 years, and ≥70 years.

Setting: Statewide quality improvement collaborative.

Methods: Using a large quality improvement collaborative, we identified patients undergoing sleeve gastrectomy (SG) or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) between 2006 and 2018. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate the association between age cohorts and 30-day outcomes, 1-year weight loss, and co-morbidity remission.

Results: We identified 641 septuagenarians who underwent SG (68.5%) or RYGB (31.5%). Compared with 45-69 year olds, septuagenarians had higher rates of hemorrhage (5.1% versus 3.1%; P = .045) after RYGB and higher rates of leak/perforation (.9% versus .3%; P = .044) after SG. Compared with younger patients, septuagenarians lost less of their excess weight, losing 64.8% after RYGB and 53.8% after SG. Remission rates for diabetes and obstructive sleep were similar for patients aged ≥70 years and 45-69 years.

Conclusions: Bariatric surgery in septuagenarians results in substantial weight loss and co-morbidity remission with an acceptable safety profile. Surgeons with self-imposed age limits should consider broadening their selection criteria to include patients ≥70 years old.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Elderly; Health policy; Older adult; Outcomes; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; Sleeve gastrectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Bariatric Surgery* / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Gastroplasty* / adverse effects
  • Gastroplasty* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*