Surgical Concerns For Elderly Individuals

If you have an elderly parent or grandparent who requires surgery, then a general surgeon may be the professional who completes the operation. This individual will need to understand your loved one's specific needs when planning the procedure. If you want to know more about this, then keep reading to understand some of the specific risks the professional will need to take into consideration.


Comorbidity is a term used to describe the presence of two different chronic ailments or illnesses at once. When it comes to surgery, comorbidity can complicate procedures, especially if only one or neither of the ailments is being treated during the operation. For example, an individual may have a diabetic condition and also a high blood pressure issue. Both of these ailments, along with countless others, can make surgical planning difficult.

Since elderly individuals are more likely to have two or more ailments at once, comorbidity issues must often be addressed with the elderly. Precautions are typically taken in the in preoperative, operative, and post-operative stages to reduce complication issues. For example, breathing treatments with the use of corticosteroids may be provided before surgery to encourage lung function in a patient with COPD. If bleeding risks are a concern, then additional blood may be ordered in preparation for the operation. Certain medications may be reduced, stopped, or otherwise adjusted too. 

If you are concerned about comorbidity issues, then speak with the surgeon about the tactics that will be used to reduce risks.

Anesthesia Complications

Anesthesia complications are always a concern whenever an individual is placed under general anesthesia. While this is true, some individuals are more likely to experience problems both during and after the anesthesia is provided. The elderly, in particular, are prone to anesthesia complications. There are two specific issues that are a concern that include postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) and postoperative delirium

POCD is a condition that leads to serious brain function problems. Memory loss and a reduced ability to learn and concentrate can occur. This is a long-term issue that is unlikely to go away. Postoperative delirium is described as confusion and memory loss after surgery, but the issue is a short-term one.

While anesthesia complications can be problematic in the elderly, no matter what, your family member's surgeon can request the services of a geriatric anesthesiologist for the operation.

If you have concerns about surgical complications and your loved one, make sure to speak with the surgeon about your concerns beforehand. To learn more, contact a hospital like Van Wert County Hospital.