Many people believe that by the time they reach their 60s and 70s, they have missed their opportunity to have bariatric surgery. On the contrary, many senior citizens are still great candidates for gastric sleeve. Take it from me, an award-winning, internationally recognized bariatric surgeon. So many of my older patients have found long-lasting success after having gastric sleeve surgery. It’s never too late to get healthy!
How and Why Obesity Affects Seniors
While the media likes to depict senior citizens as frail, that is not the case for many older Americans. In actuality, the rate of obesity has steadily increased for senior citizens. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys found that under 20% of Americans 60 and older were obese in the late 1970s. As of 2014, the obesity rate for 60+-year-old Americans rose to 38%.
Many older Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than they did in their working years. Combine that with the fact that an aging body has more difficulty metabolizing fat than it did in its younger years, and it makes sense why older Americans become obese.
No Upper Age Limit for Gastric Sleeve
The only firm age requirement I set for my gastric sleeve patients is that they are at least 14 years old. Patients in their 60s, 70s and sometimes even 80s are not disqualified simply because of their age. While it is true that senior citizens have a moderately higher chance of being deemed poor candidates for gastric sleeve, this is due to other health factors rather than strictly age.
The AARP reviewed several recent studies on senior bariatric surgery patients and concluded that the statistical differences between senior and younger patients was relatively insignificant. Patients in their 60s and 70s not only had safe outcomes, but they also had comparable rates of post-surgical success at achieving and maintaining weight loss. This has led other bariatric surgeons to reconsider their self-imposed restrictions for older patients.
Contemplating Health Factors
Make no mistake; any surgical procedure carries some inherent risk. While the risk of complications is moderately higher for senior patients, I encourage my patients to conduct a more thorough calculation that considers both benefits and risks. After bariatric surgery, most patients live healthier and happier lives. Since gastric sleeve can reduce one’s risk for cardiac arrest and stroke, bariatric surgery is far more likely to extend a patient’s lifespan (and the quality of that life) than it is to prematurely end it.
Schedule a Consultation
No matter what age you are, chances are high that you are a good candidate for gastric sleeve surgery. Please schedule a consultation with me to learn more about this life-changing procedure.