Are You a Senior Considering Bariatric Surgery?

In 2019, the obesity rate surpassed 40% for the first time in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with 42.4% of adults classified as obese. The national obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008, explaining why so many people come to our Tijuana, Mexico center for weight loss surgery. Tijuana Bariatric Center offers different types of bariatric surgery procedures that can be used to promote weight loss that is both safe and rapid.

Rates of childhood obesity are also increasing, with the latest data showing that 19.3% of American youth aged 2 to 19 are obese. Being overweight or having obesity at a young age puts a person at higher risk for severe health-related issues previously only seen in much older patients, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Often, we receive inquiries about weight loss procedures for elderly patients who may have suffered for years with associated health conditions. Can seniors safely undergo bariatric surgery, and are there any increased health concerns for weight loss surgery in older adults aged 65 years and more? Read on for some surprising information.

Bariatric Surgery Benefits Health of Older Adults

Middle-aged people who have morbid obesity can live longer if they undergo bariatric surgery. According to a November 2015 study published by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), a 45-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 45 could potentially increase her life expectancy by 6.7 years if she underwent bariatric surgery.

The increased lifespan reflected positive weight loss outcomes and resolution of comorbidities associated with obesity later in life, such as hypertension, heart disease, and the development of certain types of cancer.

Can Senior Citizens Undergo Bariatric Surgery?

At our virtual information sessions, many potential patients tell us that they think they’re too old to undergo bariatric surgery. Yes, it is possible for people aged 60 years and older to under bariatric surgery and experience health benefits. Losing excessive weight can help obese people and morbidly obese people at any age. In general, older patients may not lose as much weight as younger patients, but the health benefits and reduction of comorbidities will still improve their quality of life.

Safety of Weight Loss Surgery After 60 Years

Many people are concerned that the risks associated with bariatric surgery increase with age. However, recent research shows that patients aged in their 60s and 70s, and even for some elderly patients aged 80 and older. Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding, chief of the New York University Langone weight-management program, note that over the last decade, bariatric surgery has become one of the safest operations patients can undergo, regardless of their age. Ren-Field's oldest bariatric patient was 83 when she underwent weight loss surgery, and eight years later, at age 91, had managed to keep off 80 pounds while also reducing her diabetes medication.

Research has begun to back up the safety of bariatric surgery in elderly patients. In November 2018, JAMA Surgery published research from Brown University that examined the outcomes of surgery in older adults. The research discovered that patients who had bariatric procedures, such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), adjustable gastric banding (AGB), as well as minimally invasive, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (SG), showed improved weight loss one year after their procedure and lowered morbidity and mortality 30 days after it. The only difference in outcome is that some older patients may experience a longer recovery period.

Kate Morales 4 months Sleeve
Real TBC Patient Kate

Are Health Risks Greater for Patients Aged 60 Years?

The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) stated that based on data collected in 2015, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures for weight loss should not be denied to patients older than 60 years. Dr. Tallal Zuni, director of the Michigan Bariatric Institute, noted that the systematic review and meta analysis of data showed no correlation between increasing age and an increased risk of morbidity, mortality, or rate of reoperations in patients aged 60 and older.

Carefully Screening Senior Patients for Bariatric Surgery

While the overall risk of complications may not be greater in elderly patients, we acknowledge that health situations vary from patient to patient. No matter your age, we will carefully screen you and conduct a medical history review to determine if bariatric surgery can be safely performed. That’s why the consultation process is such an important part of developing a surgical weight loss plan through bariatric procedures.

Schedule a Virtual Consultation at Tijuana Bariatric Center

For more information about weight loss surgery in older adults and which option is best, contact the team at Tijuana Bariatric Center for a free virtual consultation. We will work closely with you to present your options and help you make the best possible decision for you and your needs. Contact us by us calling 800-970-0577.


Back to Blog
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at 888-508-1384.
Contact Us