42% of the older adults globally are operated upon for some or the other reason. With age, the various parts of the body show outcomes of the wear and tear that occurs over the years. Heart surgeries, hip and knee replacements, fracture corrections and cataract surgery are common among older adults.

The quality of your health after surgery depends upon the skill of the surgeon performing the surgery and the facilities available at the hospital where you will stay in the post-op period.

Here are some guidelines for choosing the best hospital for your surgery:

  1. Check if the hospital has a separate unit for treating ailments you are going to be operated for (For ex: a joint replacement unit or an eye care unit)
  2. Check if the operating rooms are used for only your kind of surgery (it ensures it is well-equipped to manage your surgery)
  3. Check on the pre-op and post-op care patients who have undergone similar surgeries get
  4. Enough caregivers (nurses, cleaning staff, etc)
  5. Try checking their ratings online to get an idea of how well the system works
  6. Check if the hospital has benefits for senior citizens and/or can link your benefits while paying bills

Here’s how you select a surgeon:

Most of the surgeons you encounter will be listed on the Internet. Before you go under the knife, check online for the following:

  1. Credentials
  2. Certification
  3. Ratings
  4. Whether the surgeon has performed similar surgeries. If yes, then how many and since when
  5. Check to see if someone has lodged any complaints on the surgeon

Apart from this research, you can ask your surgeon the following questions:

Does the surgeon specialize in it?

You have the right to know how many similar surgeries the surgeon has performed and whether he specializes in it. You can also ask for his experiences. A good surgeon talks about his good experiences as well as bad ones so that you get an idea about what you are going in for.

Can this treatment be done by some other minimally invasive technique?

Many times, surgery can be avoided altogether by taking medication. If surgery is absolutely required, you can ask whether it can be done using laparoscopic methods, wherein a camera is passed in through a small incision in the skin (called keyhole incision). The doctor then sees the image on a screen and operates accordingly.

If you require open surgery, in what percentage you fall in?

Though laparoscopic surgery is less invasive, doctors cannot recommend it to everyone. In fact, some surgeons prefer open surgeries to laparoscopic ones. It depends on the health of the patient and the surgeon’s preferences.

What are the complication rates and the length of hospital stay?

Open surgery needs more care than laparoscopic surgery. However, if the surgeon and the hospital are well-equipped to manage similar ailments, you can recover fairly quickly without any side effects.

What are the risks?

A good surgeon must enlist the risks you will be under (in case of elective surgery). You must be able to make an informed decision. If the surgeon minimizes the risks, consider taking a second opinion.

Surgery is a major event in an older adult’s life. However, with hospitals and doctors springing up everywhere, you can never be sure who and what to trust.

Go by these guidelines to find the best surgeon and hospital for yourself.

Also Read: Bariatric Surgery for Weight Loss in Older Adults

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