Spine Surgery for the Elderly

Are you or any of your loved ones a senior citizen suffering from spinal problems? Surgery is usually considered the last resort, as it helps alleviate pain and increase spinal flexibility and strength. But what are the various aspects associated with spine surgery for the elderly? Here are some of them to form a base and help you discuss the various possibilities and dimensions of spine surgery in the elderly with your doctor.

Spinal Conditions Potentially Requiring Surgery

The elderly may face a range of spinal problems requiring surgery. Usually, doctors do not prescribe surgery in the first instance. Instead, they consider various non-surgical treatment options to examine their effectiveness and results. But in some cases, and if non-surgical treatments fail, surgery may be the only option. Here are some spinal conditions potentially requiring surgery.

i) Slipped Disc

The spinal cord comprises bones and discs. The latter serves as a cushion to the back. Aging causes the disc to dry out. Excessive pressure on the back can break the disc. In such situations, the person’s hands or feet can feel hurt, numb, or tired. Usually, painkillers and non-operative treatment help. But if not, the person may be required to undergo keyhole spine surgery.

ii) Spinal Stenosis

The spine has a space for the spinal cord and the nerves stemming from it. When the space shrinks, the bones can push the nerves. Surgeons will diagnose the case and examine the damage. Accordingly, they may suggest keyhole surgery.

iii) Tumor

In some cases, cancer proliferates from where it begins to develop new growths in the spine. Often, breast, prostate, lung, and bone cancers occur in the spine. A range of other cancer conditions can also lead to spinal tumors. The tumors can hurt the back and then spread to other body parts, causing the hands or feet to feel numb or weak. In worse situations, the body parts can get paralyzed. To treat the condition, doctors can prescribe measures like chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation.

iv) Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a condition characterized by a forward-bending spine. It occurs when the spine is mashed down or broken. It is commonly found in older women due to multiple osteoporotic wedge compression of the spinal column. The symptoms may include pain and irritation in the rest of the body. Doctors will diagnose the condition and recommend treatment, potentially including surgery, based on the spine curvature.

Is Spine Surgery Safe in the Elderly – Spinal Surgery Risks in the Elderly

Opinions vary with surgeons based on the experience and observations of each. However, one cannot generalize and deem spine surgery suitable or unsuitable for everyone. Each individual and their condition is unique. Accordingly, doctors should examine the case carefully and conclude the surgery’s suitability based on the patient’s age, health condition, and potential endurance to surgery. In many cases, surgeries have been successful, fostering a significant positive transformation in the patient’s condition.

However, spine surgery could lead to various potential complications in the elderly. Again, the onset and severity of these complications can vary with the patient.

i) Blood clots may develop after surgery, restricting movements.

ii)Surgery may limit the ability to move and reduce spine strength initially.

iii)Blood loss may occur due to the cuts and incisions into tissues and organs.

iv)Incisions and cuts could also lead to infections.

v)The surgical success rate is lower in the elderly. Hence, failed surgery is a risk.

Connect with Ranka Hospital if you are looking to undergo spinal treatment. While answering all your questions and addressing all your concerns, our doctors will also diagnose your condition comprehensively and recommend the best-suited treatment. Call us at 020 – 24261528 to book a consultation appointment with our doctors.

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