As you get older, your chances of developing certain health conditions increase. Some conditions are best treated with surgery, and your doctor may recommend one of these surgical procedures to correct problems that could affect your quality of life in your senior years.
1. Hip Replacement
If a hip joint is severely damaged because of arthritis, an injury, or another condition, a hip replacement may be your best solution. A prosthesis can be surgically implanted to serve as an artificial hip so that your hip joint will be able to move and function properly again. A hip replacement can also alleviate chronic hip pain so that you’ll be able to live more comfortably.
During a hip replacement procedure, a surgeon makes an incision over a hip before removing damaged or diseased bone and cartilage. The prosthesis can then be implanted to serve as a new hip. The total recovery time from surgery can vary, but you’ll likely notice a remarkable improvement in your hip functioning after three months.
2. Cataract Surgery
A cataract is a cloudy area that develops over the lens of the eye, and cataracts often occur at higher rates among seniors. The condition isn’t always obvious, but you’ll likely notice a gradual decrease in your vision if a cataract is affecting one or both eyes. Cataract surgery can remove any cloudy areas on the lens so that optimal sight can be restored.
So, how long does cataract surgery take? The surgery itself can usually be completed in less than 15 minutes, but additional time will be needed to prepare you for the surgery. After you’ve been given anesthesia to numb any pain during the procedure, the eye surgeon will make an incision on the surface of the eye to remove the cataract.
3. Heart Surgery
Several cardiac surgeries are often performed to correct abnormalities in the heart’s structure or rhythm. Seniors are known to be more prone to heart conditions, but surgery can be especially risky after age 80 and might not be recommended.
Heart surgery may be performed by making a few small incisions in the chest, but a larger incision is sometimes needed to access the heart muscle. General anesthesia will be used so that you’ll sleep throughout the surgery without feeling pain. Some heart surgeries require several hours to complete, but specific procedures can be done in shorter time periods. Total recovery time after surgery can last from a few weeks to several months.
4. Spinal Fusion
Back pain is a common problem among seniors, and spinal fusion surgery is sometimes recommended as a treatment. This procedure could be your best form of therapy if you have a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or general weakness in the spine that causes pain.
The vertebrae that make up the spinal column usually have a space between each bone, and spinal fusion joins two or more vertebrae by removing the space between them. General anesthesia will be used to put you to sleep for the procedure before the surgeon makes an incision in your back and uses a bone graft to join the vertebrae.
Fusing the vertebrae often relieves pain and discomfort, but you might not have as much flexibility in your back after surgery. Total recovery time from surgery usually lasts between three and six months.
5. Gallbladder Removal
Gallbladder disease and other gallbladder problems can affect people of different ages, but your chances of a gallbladder condition could increase as you grow older. Gallstones and other gallbladder problems often cause nausea, digestive troubles, and other problems that can make life as a senior more difficult.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is often the best solution for seniors as well as younger people, and your doctor can let you know if you’re suitable for surgery based on your age, lifestyle factors, and overall health status.
Laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder, which can be done by making a small incision in the navel area, usually carries fewer risks for seniors, but you may need an open procedure that involves making larger incisions to access and remove the gallbladder. Either surgery can be completed in one to two hours, and you may require up to two months for a full recovery.
Surgery may allow you to live out your golden years to the fullest. Medical professionals can do all the necessary testing to determine if any of these procedures will be right for you as a senior.