Good Health Is A Key To Surgery In Older Patients

With advanced medical procedures drugs, patients in good health even when they are older do well, much better than previously expected when undergoing surgery, if the are in good health.

Doctors should tell older patients to expect their recovery from bypass to take a full year, he said, but they can tell them to expect good results if they are in their 60 and older.

Cardiologist Dr. Louis Cohen and his patient, Donna Tutlewski, 86, of Pentwater, Mich., discussed risks before her April 6 bypass operation.

Other than her blocked arteries, Tutlewski was in good health. Her heart doctor told her that improvements in surgical techniques could help her, she said.

How quickly she came home after surgery surprised everyone.

"They had told us to expect, at the minimum, 10 days" in the hospital, said one of her daughters-in-law, Delores Tutlewski. But after five days, "the nurses told us, 'We can't keep up with her. She's walking down the hallway. "

Staying healthier into old age also means that older Americans want face-lifts and other cosmetic surgery.

One survey of, many plastic surgeons found the number of cosmetic surgery procedures in patients age 60 and older increased by 35 percent from 2000 to 2003. The numbers are reported as an average number per surgeon. In 2000, per-surgeon average was 98; in 2003, it was 133.

In a published study, plastic surgeon Dr. Ferdinand Becker found that his older face-lift patients had no greater risk for complications when he compared them with younger patients with the same risk factors.

Becker said he sees vibrant, healthy octogenarians at his plastic surgery clinic in Vero Beach, Fla. Here too, in the Philippines, Dr. Zubiri is having success with his older patients, with dramatic results, and quick healing despite their age. He will not work on smokes. Smoking delays healing significantly.