Anesthesiologist Questions Brain surgery

Is it safe for an 86 year old to go under anesthesia?

My mother has a non-cancerous tumor on her brain, and her doctor is advising she have it surgically removed, but is giving her the choice. She is leaning towards the surgery, but is afraid to go under anesthesia at her age (86 years old). Is it safe for an 86 year old to have such a surgery?

4 Answers

Risks are increased compared to a 20 year old but it can definitely be done safely. Within twenty four hours she should be fully recovered from the anesthesia
Age is not considered a factor in anesthesia risk. Mental and physical condition of the patient are determinants of risk.
Anesthesia itself carries inherent risk. In addition, comorbidities of a given patient increase risk. While age alone may not be a concern, associated age degeneration of organ systems would influence risk of anesthesia. For any patient, the necessity of a given surgical procedure and the health of the individual patient dictates whether inherent risks of anesthesia are justified.
Best wishes for your mother’s recovery.

Take care.
Generally, it’s best not to expose the elderly to general anesthesia unless necessary. Risk of dementia (both short- and long-term) increases after age 70 with patients receiving general anesthesia.