Good News for Obese Seniors

seniors safety surgeryRecent research shows that senior citizens do not have any worse side effects than younger people when undergoing weight loss surgery, according to an article published by HealthDay News. The research abstract was presented at the 2011 Digestive Diseases Week in Chicago.

The research was based on nearly 50,000 patients who underwent various types of bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2009. Of this group, about 4% of the patients were over 65 years old. There were more older people undergoing bariatric surgery in 2009 than in 2005, with seniors representing only 1.92 percent of the study group in 2005 and 4.77 percent in 2009. The findings showed that although older age was not correlated with adverse events such as heart attacks or blood clots, higher body-mass index (BMI), diabetes and chronic kidney failure were. The seniors in the study averaged a longer hospital stay than the younger patients.

There has been debate about whether or not weight loss surgery is an appropriate treatment for obesity in our older population. According to Dr. Stephen Carryl, who is the director of bariatric surgery at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, the National Institutes Health (NIH) recommended that age 65 should be the cut-off point for bariatric surgery. He adds that it “has become sort of the artificial standard. However, Medicare does pay for weight-loss surgery in this older population.” Medicare is a small player in the bariatric population, though. According to Dr. Carryl, the majority have private medical insurance.

You can read HealthDay’s article here.


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