Surgical considerations in the geriatric patient

Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2003 Jul;20(3):607-26. doi: 10.1016/S0891-8422(03)00047-8.


The geriatric patient has a high incidence of foot deformities and may be considered a good surgical candidate if healthy and psychologically ready for the surgical procedure. Foot problems in the geriatric population that may require surgical intervention can be grouped into approximately five categories, including (1) localized orthopedic disorders (ie, bunions, hammer toes, and so on); (2) skin and nail problems (ie, onychomycosis); (3) degenerative and inflammatory arthritis; (4) diabetic foot disorders; and (5) neuromuscular disease. However, age-related changes in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal function increase the risk of perioperative complications. The higher rates of complications seen in the older surgical patients result in part from existing comorbidity and age-associated changes in organ function. Extensive procedures depending on good bone healing for success should usually not be attempted on older patients. Office surgery for the geriatric patient should involve only the simplest procedures and should be kept to a minimum because of the increased possibility of postoperative complications. In the hospital there is better preoperative evaluation, operating room conditions, and postoperative care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Foot Diseases / surgery*
  • Geriatrics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Perioperative Care / methods
  • Podiatry / methods
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk Factors