FAQs: Surgery Overview

What is the oldest patient for who weight loss surgery is recommended?

Patients over 60 require very strong indications for surgery and must also meet stringent Medicare criteria. The risk of surgery in this age group is increased due to other medical problems and the expected weight loss benefits is less.

Can weight loss surgery prolong my life?

There is good evidence from scientific research that if you have Type 2 diabetes (or other serious obesity-related health conditions), are at least 100 lbs. over ideal body weight, and are able to comply with lifestyle changes (daily exercise and low-fat diet), then weight loss surgery may significantly prolong your life. A female smoker with a BMI of greater than 40 could lengthen her life expectancy by more than 15 years if she loses weight and quits smoking.

What is the youngest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?

Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older. Surgery has been performed on patients in their teens. There is a real concern that young patients may not have reached full developmental or emotional maturity to make this type of decision. It is important that young weight loss surgery patients have a full understanding of the lifelong commitment to the altered eating and lifestyle changes necessary for success.

Can weight loss surgery help other physical conditions?

At one year after successful bariatric surgery, 96% of obesity related medical conditions are either completely resolved or significantly improved. This does depend on the patient’s compliance to the recommended diet and exercise.