We studied retrospectively a series of 96 patients (36 men, 60 women), older than 65 years of age (mean age: 70 +/- 4 years, range 65-82), operated upon for an intracranial meningioma from October 1978 to December 1988. Fifty-two patients (54%) were under 70, 32 between 71 and 75 and 12 over 75 (46%). The tumours were diagnosed for all the patients by CT scan. Thirty-four (35%) were located over the convexity, 24 (25%) in the falx/parasagittal region, 38 (40%) in the base, tentorium and posterior fossa. Neurological and physical conditions were assessed preoperatively and at the closing date in June 1989. Operative mortality was 16% (15/96). Patients were divided into two groups: poor outcome, defined by the death or a post-operative Karnofsky index less than or equal to 70 (n = 36), and good outcome defined by a Karnofsky index of 80 or more (n = 60). The two groups did not differ regarding age, sex ratio, tumour size and peritumoural oedema. The only predictors of poor outcome were poor preoperative general health condition (stage III of the American Society of Anesthesiology classification), (p less than 0.01), poor preoperative neurological condition (Karnofsky's index) (p less than 0.001), and location of the tumour on the base or in posterior fossa (p = 0.02).