Surgery for the very old: Are nonagenarians different?

Tanner I. Kim*, Anand Brahmandam, Laura Skrip, Timur Sarac, Alan Dardik, Cassius Iyad Ochoa Chaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Octogenarians and nonagenarians are considered the "very old" and are often viewed as one group. Americans are aging, with the proportion of the very old expected to increase from 1.9 per cent of the population to 4.3 per cent in 2050. This study aimed to underscore the differences in surgical trends, demographics, and outcomes between octogenarians and nonagenarians. The ACS-NSQIP database (2007-2012) was used to derive the type of surgeries, demographics, and outcomes of octogenarian and nonagenarians undergoing nonemergent vascular, orthopedic, and general surgery procedures. Between 2007 and 2012, nonagenarians accounted for an increasing percentage of surgeries (85 to 121 per 10,000 surgeries, relative risk 5 1.42; 95% CI: 1.30-1.54) across surgical specialties, including vascular, general, and orthopedic surgery, whereas the percentage of octogenarians undergoing surgery remained unchanged. Nonagenarians had a higher 30-day perioperative mortality and a longer hospital stay than octogenarians after vascular, orthopedic, and general surgery procedures. Nonagenarians are a rapidly growing group of surgical patients with significantly higher perioperative mortality and longer postoperative hospital stay. The impact of surgery on the quality of life of nonagenarians needs to be studied to justify the increasing healthcare costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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