Age is no bar for spine surgery

Age is no bar for spine surgery
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New Delhi: Turns out, age does not need to be the decisive factor in herniated disc surgery or simply, a spine surgery.

Recently, an 89-year-old woman from Nepal underwent a successful spine surgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

The woman was suffering from low back pain radiating to both lower limbs and was unable to walk or sleep comfortably. After surgery, she is recovering well and is now able to walk, comfortably.
She underwent a spinal decompression and instrumented spinal fusion by Dr. Raju Vaishya, Senior Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon.

X-ray and MRI of the spine showed spinal cord compression at L4 to S1 segments. After medical evaluation, she underwent spinal decompression and instrumented spinal fusion under general anaesthesia. The surgery lasted for two and a half hours and was uneventful.
Her symptoms of numbness and tingling in the leg has significantly reduced, and she is now able to walk, comfortably.

It has been learned that every person has got two types of age – chronologic age and biological age, and the biological age of the people living more than 70 years is less. They are free from congenital and lifestyle diseases. They have observed a more balanced lifestyle and they have done exercises and physical work on a regular basis because of which they are physically and mentally fit. If such people are given a remedy for their knee or joint problems, they can maintain their active life and will be able to live a longer life.

Elderly adults, who live much longer than their counterparts, have exceptional qualities such as low probability of disease or disability, active engagement with life, and high cognitive and physical function. Hence, when considering elderly adults for the elective surgery, various factors such as age, overall health, mental function, and motivation must be considered. Older age alone should not discourage doctors and family from recommending surgery.

“We believe that although these reconstructive surgeries for disabling pain cannot add years to the lives of these individuals, but can add quality to the remaining years of their lives. With predictable benefits of surgery, viable procedures can be done in carefully selected elderly adults, provided that doctors, the individuals, and family members accept the risks. These individuals should not be deprived of potential benefits of these surgeries,” said Dr. Vaishya.
Worldwide, the population of elderly adults is increasing because of longer life expectancy.

This increase will inevitably be associated with a parallel increase in the number of musculoskeletal problems (like Arthritis and Spinal problems requiring surgical treatment. But, the elderly adults are less willing to undergo the prescribed surgery for several reasons, such as ignorance, consideration of their old age, uncertainty about their life expectancy, associated comorbidities, and fear of potential postoperative complications.