The changing face of neurosurgery for the older person.
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Increased life expectancy and illness prevention and treatment have led to a growing population of older patients. These changes in patient population are apparent in neurosurgery; however, relatively little is reported about specific outcomes and prognostication in this group. This review summarises the challenges and management changes occurring in the treatment of three common neurosurgical pathologies; aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage, head injury, and haemorrhagic stroke. A move towards less invasive neurosurgical techniques has implications on the risk-benefit profile of interventions. This creates the opportunity to intervene in older patients with greater co-morbidity, as long as improved outcomes can be evidenced. A critical part of assessing appropriateness for surgical intervention in older patients may be to change from a mindset of age to one of frailty and growing interest in scales assessing this may aid treatment decisions in the future.
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