Best Bariatric Surgery Options for Elderly Patients

Posted by Patrick Domkowski on Tue, May 15, 2018

Bariatric surgery is considered one of the most effective treatments for obesity, an epidemic that affects 56% of senior citizens in America. Seniors who struggle with obesity are at higher risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea and other conditions that are potentially life threatening. The older we get, the more difficult it is to lose weight and burn excess fat.

Bariatric surgery can help elderly patients reach their goals of significant and lasting weight reduction through minimally invasive procedures.

For many people, surgery seems like an intimidating option. The decision to undergo surgery takes a lot of consideration and should not be taken lightly.  When it comes to choosing which surgery is right for you, it’s important to understand the different types of weight loss surgeries.

The highest concern for elderly patients considering bariatric surgery are the risks that come with being an older adult and going under the knife. Old age is sometimes associated with more complications. However, weight loss surgery procedures have been found to be equally safe for seniors and young adults. At the same time, certain procedures can be more suitable for the elderly and it’s important to consult your doctor to see which procedure is safest for you.

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass is often referred to as the “gold standard procedure” for weight loss surgery. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is one of the most well-known and frequently performed weight loss procedures in the United States.

In this procedure, a stapling device is used to shrink the stomach by creating a smaller stomach pouch from the original stomach.The rest of the stomach is not removed, just separated, which restricts the patient with respect to how much they can eat.  

elderly patients

On average, patients lose 70-80 percent of their excess body weight one year after the procedure. Hospital stay for laparoscopic gastric bypass is generally 2-3 days and complete recovery is 2-3 weeks which makes this procedure ideal for elderly patients.

Studies show that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a fast results surgery, as long as patients follow instructions, which makes this procedure fitting for elderly patients who are not able to regularly exercise. With gastric bypass the weight comes off rapidly making it ideal for severely overweight patients. 

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, also known as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is highly effective. Through five small incisions (between .-05 and 1 inch) 85% of your stomach is removed.

elderly patients

Instead of segmenting your stomach completely (like in bypass surgery), gastric sleeve surgery makes your stomach smaller by removing nearly 85% of your stomach. This effectively cuts down on the amount of space your stomach has which affects the amount of food you can eat.

Unlike gastric bypass surgery, since your stomach is not segmented the risk of dumping syndrome is eliminated and the risk of nutrient deficiencies is minimized. Weight loss with the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is significant at around 60-70 percent of excess weight gone in 2 years. This is also maintained long term, 60-70 percent maintenance at 6 yrs following surgery.

This surgery has a similar recovery time to a gastric bypass surgery with several days in a hospital and 2-4 weeks recovery after. The biggest difference between this surgery and gastric bypass is how the weight comes off. With the vertical sleeve surgery weight comes off at a more natural pace allowing your body to adjust to the change and re-regulate itself.

Studies show that patients who have had either procedure have seen improvement with health conditions including: back pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression.

bariatric surgery for seniors guide

There are a variety of options for procedures to consider when looking into bariatric surgery. The available options each cater to different needs of the patient, so it’s important to consult with a doctor to determine the best surgery for you. To learn more about the risks and recovery of any of these surgeries, don’t hesitate to contact our office to set up a consultation. We want you to enjoy the life you’ve always imagined as soon as possible, so contact us today!

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