Bariatric surgery risky for older adults, study finds

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Weight loss surgery poses significant risks for people 65 and older, according to a surgeon's review of more than 25,000 weight loss operations.

Dr. Edward H. Livingston of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and colleague Joshua Langert found that complications resulting from the surgery rose dramatically for people in this age group. Those complications include: internal stitch leaks; pneumonia; and a type of blood infection known as sepsis.

Among the 1% of patients in the study who were 65 or older, one-in-five spent a week or longer in the hospital after surgery, an indication that they experienced adverse events, while 3.2% died in the hospital. Complications of bariatric surgery also were high among people on Medicaid who were younger than 65.