Objective: To analyze the potential effects of preoperative age on postoperative weight loss in patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) with long-term follow-up data.
Background: The reasons for individual differences in surgically induced weight loss are not completely understood. To date, there are no available studies specifically aimed at analyzing the effects of age on weight loss in patients undergoing the same operation and with long-term follow-up data.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data for all patients who underwent RYGBP between 2006 and 2010. To evaluate weight loss, we used preoperative and follow-up body mass index (BMI), analyzed by the mixed-effects linear model for repeated measures. To evaluate age effects, patients were classified in quartiles (≤35 years, 36–42 years, 43–51 years, ≥52 years).
Results: A total of 489 patients entered the study; preoperatively, the younger group showed a significantly higher BMI (mean BMI: 48.2 in patients aged ≤35 years, 46.9 in 36–42 years, 45.5 in 43–51 years, 45.7 in ≥52 years, P = 0.014) and a higher percentage of super-obesity (41.6% among patients aged ≤35 years, 28.1% among 36–42 years, 27.6% among 43–51 years, 28.3% among ≥ 52 years, P = 0.047). In spite of this, younger patients experienced a significantly greater and prolonged BMI decrease during the entire follow-up period and the BMI trend over time resulted significantly modified according to age quartiles (P = 0.036).
Conclusions: This study provides a new prognostic factor in bariatric surgery: patient age. Because advanced age represents a risk factor for complications and mortality, and given that bariatric surgery may not be as effective in older patients compared to younger subjects, we believe that surgical indications in patients older than 50 years should be carefully weighed up.