Laparoscopic surgery in the elderly patient
Background: Elderly patients represent a unique surgical challenge because of the associated complex comorbidity and diminished cardiopulmonary reserve. Therefore, minimally invasive surgery in the elderly may have a larger impact compared to the younger population. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the experience of laparoscopic surgery in patients ?70 years of age in our unit. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-two patients (34 females and 98 males) older than 70 years who underwent various elective and emergency laparoscopic procedures between 1992 and 1997 were assessed prospectively. Preoperative comorbidity, operative results, and postoperative outcomes were analyzed. Results: The median age of the patients was 76 years. The majority of patients were ASA class II. The mean hospital stay was 3.4 days. The overall morbidity and mortality rates were 10.8% and 3.4% respectively, and the conversion rate was 4.3%. Conclusions: Our experience suggests that laparoscopic surgery in the elderly is safe, is associated with short hospital stay, and produces less morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it should be adopted widely if the expertise in the area of laparoscopic surgery is available for this group of patients.
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