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Weight Loss Surgery and Safety Concerns for the Elderly
Author: Dawn Flemming
July 12th, 2019
Categories : Aging
Tags : Surgery

Weight loss surgery comes with risks, but the elderly are not at a higher risk. In fact, they may benefit from weight loss surgery more than others.

By Dawn Flemming

There have been increasing concerns about weight loss surgery in the form of bariatric surgery (you may also know it as gastric bypass surgery). Some of the long term risks have included bowel obstruction, gallstones, malnutrition and more. To know more about its risks, you can visit here.

Some have concerns that the risks of bariatric surgery go up with age, being particularly dangerous for seniors. However, research is showing that age does not significantly increase risks. According to an important study, researchers found that

adults over 65 were not at significantly greater risk of experiencing a major adverse event or dying within a month of their surgeries compared to those in their 30s and 40s, though seniors were more likely to face longer hospital stays.

“If the patient is over age 65, and they’re otherwise relatively healthy, I think this study gives surgeons an opportunity to tell the patients that they can undergo these operations with relatively similar outcomes compared to younger age populations,” says study researcher Robert B. Dorman, MD, PhD, a general surgery resident at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.

disease trained specialists geriatric in-home care

In fact, it seems that the elderly benefited even more from weight loss surgery. According to Thomas Magnuson of Johns Hopkins University,

“Older patients definitely benefit from the operation oftentimes more in terms of quality of life. If you can have someone who is 72 years old lose 100 pounds, they can get better quality of life, such as, you know flying on an airplane with their grandkids or just getting around better to enjoy life,”

Bariatric surgery can cost up to $25,000. For many people this surgery is not necessary. Weight loss can be achieved through eating the right kinds of foods and increasing activity.

However, surgery is sometimes necessary for people who suffer from heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases which require immediate weight loss due to a life threatening condition.

Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.

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