12 May 2017
The decision to operate or not operate on an elderly frail
patient can often be difficult - will the patient survive the
surgery and what sort of quality of life can be anticipated?
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This was one of the questions posed to surgeons attending their
Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) in Adelaide this week.
These kinds of questions must always be asked pre-surgery, but
difficult conversations in urgent situations with families with
different beliefs and perspectives can be challenging, according to
Melbourne General and Breast Surgeon Meron Pitcher, from Western
Ms Pitcher said that diseases that previously significantly
shortened life were now managed as chronic conditions with much
improved quality of life.
"As surgeons we are seeing more elderly patients presenting for
surgery, and we confront challenges in determining the benefits and
risks in terms of complications and frailty," Ms Pitcher
The Melbourne surgeon suggested that advanced care planning may be
helpful to agree on realistic goals and expectations as well as
prepare for outcomes of treatment.
Ms Meron Pitcher's presentation to the Royal Australasian College
of Surgeons (RACS) ASC explored the many considerations of surgery
across the geriatric population.
Up to 1500 surgeons have been meeting at the Adelaide Convention
Centre for a week of workshops, discussions, Plenaries and
masterclasses across a broad range of surgical issues.
For more information about the Annual Scientific Congress please