Outpatient surgery - no problem for the elderly too

Inguinal hernia, removal of varicose veins, knee surgery via the atheroscopy and cataract surgery - these are just a few of the approximately 400 surgeries that can be performed on an outpatient basis today. State-of-the-art surgical techniques and gentle anesthesia procedures put less strain on the body than before and often make hospitalization unnecessary. Patients can spend the first night after the procedure at home and recover in their usual environment.

Outpatient surgery: beneficial for young and old

Not only younger patients benefit from medical progress. In many cases, outpatient surgery is also an option for older people. Just one example is cataract surgery, known in cataract as jargon. In Germany, around 400, 000 people are treated with cataracts each year.

For example: cataract

"The cataract is primarily a disease of old age, due to a slowed metabolism, " explains Dr. med. Sabine Voermans, health expert at Techniker Krankenkasse (TK). "The originally clear lens dims in. Patients have the impression that they are constantly seeing through a veil that becomes increasingly denser over time." Visual acuity gradually decreases until those affected often perceive only a light-dark difference. Nearly 40 percent of men and over 45 percent of women over 75 years of age are affected by significant lens opacities with vision deterioration of more than 40 percent.

A star surgery can significantly improve your vision. According to German ophthalmologists, more than 90 percent of all cataract patients after surgery can see much better than before. In the most common form of star surgery, the opacified lens is replaced with an artificial lens. The relatively short procedure usually puts little strain on the patient, so local anesthesia is usually sufficient. Voermans: "After an outpatient procedure, patients can recover at home in their usual environment and are therefore usually quicker to get up again." Of course, the risk of becoming infected with hospital germs does not exist at home either. "

Important: the state of health

Whether an operation can be carried out on an outpatient basis, must be discussed in individual cases with the doctor. In principle, every patient - regardless of age - is suitable for outpatient surgery. In some patients, however, the state of health speaks against outpatient surgery. Examples for this are:

  • People with a strong overweight
  • People with certain diseases of the heart or lungs
  • Patients with impaired kidney function
  • Diabetics with severe diabetes

should be monitored inpatient after surgery.

After the procedure quickly become active again

Many older people, who are self-employed and self-sufficient, often suffer from so-called "loss of competence" due to longer hospital stays. That is, they find it difficult to return to the old form. In some cases it even comes to nursing cases. Especially elderly patients should therefore become active again as soon as possible after an intervention. In the first 24 hours after surgery, the operator should not be alone. Often relatives, friends or acquaintances are ready to assist the patient.

Most patients in Germany give a good report to the outpatient doctors. This was demonstrated by a study commissioned by TK in 2004 on the quality of outpatient surgery in general practitioners. 98 percent of the surveyed patients, who had previously undergone outpatient surgery, would opt for an outpatient surgery again. The study also showed that outpatient surgery is also very suitable for seniors. Of the surveyed outpatients, 17 percent were older than 60 years. 18 percent of respondents were between 50 and 59 years old.

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