Weight Loss Surgery May Help Obese Seniors
New Studies Show Benefits of Gastric Bypass and Gastric Banding Surgeries
'Safe and Beneficial'
A third study, done at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, included 31 people aged
65 and older who got gastric banding. Over the next year they had reductions in
blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sleep apnea, among other
"Laparoscopic gastric banding is a safe and beneficial procedure in the
elderly population," say the researchers, who included Flavia Soto, MD.
Surgery Not Without Risks
Weight loss surgery has risks, just like any operation using general
anesthesia, says Daud. The risks may be "a little higher" for older
patients, she says.
It's important to make sure that diabetes is under control before surgery,
Cohen says gastric bypass surgery is the "gold standard." He says
gastric banding may have more complications, which can include banding slippage
However, Daud says her group had no complications, even minor ones, with
gastric banding. The surgeon's experience can be a factor, she says.
She and her colleagues say that based on their results, gastric banding
might be the better option for older obese adults.
Cohen and Daud agree that weight loss is slower with gastric banding than
with gastric bypass.
Diet, Exercise Still Count
Cohen and Daud both say weight loss surgery can be safe for older obese
adults. But they also say that surgery is not the only answer.
Exercise and healthy eating are also important, as at any age, they say.
Of course, it's possible to lose weight without surgery. But it's often
difficult for older people, say Cohen and Daud.
"I think support is really important, as well," says Daud. Support
groups for patients may be helpful, since families may not understand the
issues, she says.