Growing problem of obesity in the older population: is surgery an option?

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The prevalence of obesity in the elderly population is increasing and is projected to continue to increase in the coming decades. In the morbidly obese population, failure of medical management of obesity is common, and bariatric surgery has emerged as the most effective and durable method of weight loss. Bariatric surgery, now routinely performed laparoscopically, is associated with low morbidity, a short hospital stay and a quick recovery. Along with a significant loss of weight, most obesity-related comorbidities resolve or are improved after surgery. These benefits are also observed in the older population, in which bariatric surgery can be performed safely, produce excellent weight loss, improve comorbid conditions and enhance quality of life. As more operations are performed in the older population and as data accumulate to support weight-loss surgery in this group, bariatric surgery may emerge as the preferred treatment modality for morbid obesity in the aging population.

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