Weight Loss Surgery May Help Obese Seniors
New Studies Show Benefits of Gastric Bypass and Gastric Banding Surgeries
July 1, 2005 -- Three new studies show that obese older adults.
The CDC says that 69% of Americans aged 65 and older were overweight or
obese in 1999-2002.
As more people live longer, the number of obese seniors is likely to grow,
say researchers Ricardo Cohen, MD, and Amna Daud, MD, MPH.
Cohen and Daud worked on two of the new studies. Their results were also
presented in Orlando, Fla., at the American Society for Bariatric Surgery's
Cohen and Daud spoke with WebMD about weight loss surgery for older obese
"We can achieve excellent results with very low [illness] and [death]
rates in these kinds of patients," says Cohen. He also says the surgery can
"cure them of most problems that can occur due to obesity."
Daud says her findings were "very preliminary" and included a small
number of people. From what she's seen so far, Daud says some seniors fared
better after surgery than younger patients.
Gastric Bypass Study
Cohen and colleagues studied 108 obese people aged 60 and older who got
The operation reduces the stomach's size and bypasses part of the small
intestine where food is absorbed.
Before the surgery, 73 patients had high blood pressure, 66 had type 2
diabetes, 19 had gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and 12 had sleep apnea
-- all obesity-related disorders.
Two years later, 46 patients were "cured" of high blood pressure and
51 of diabetes; all GERD and sleep apnea cases were "cured," say Cohen
They work at the Hospital Sao Camilo in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
'Good' Results, Obedient Patients
Patients had "good" long-term weight loss and obeyed doctors'
orders, says Cohen.
"It's interesting to know that those elderly patients are more
compliant," he tells WebMD.
"They don't miss follow-ups. They exercise. They're more mature in their
decisions. So we can achieve good results in that kind of population," says
Daud says older patients in her study were also more compliant than younger
Gastric Banding Study
Daud's study included 45 people aged 60 and older. They got gastric bypass
In gastric banding surgery, an inflatable band is placed around the upper
part of the stomach, creating a small pouch, which helps restrict the amount of
For comparison, the researchers also followed more than a thousand younger
people who got the same operations.
A year after surgery, the older people who got gastric banding were
"actually doing better" than younger patients who had the same
procedure, says Daud.
There was no difference in results for younger and older gastric bypass
patients, the researchers report.
It will be interesting to see the results after two years, says Daud. She is
a clinical research coordinator at New York's Columbia Presbyterian