Principles of Geriatric Surgery

  • Mario Nano
  • Mario Solej


Geriatric surgery is the branch of medicine concerned with the surgical care of older adults. As people grow older, age-related biological parameters diverge, whereas they tend to converge toward a narrower range of mean values in the young. Aging is a physiological, genetically programmed, universal, and heterochronic process. At this stage of older age, an elderly person’s sociofunctional status can be classified from robust to frail (fit, pre-frail, frail). In geriatric surgery, successful patient outcome is not so much the result of a surgical technique as it is a deep understanding of the geriatric patient. Since the functional reserve of vital organs diminishes with increasing age, chronological age constitutes a risk factor in itself. Two other common risk factors in the elderly are the immobilization syndrome and malnutrition, both of which are more often present in institutionalized patients. These risk factors place the elderly in a precarious situation of distress. Distressing symptoms are associated with psychophysical and emotional decline and frailty, which is one of the hallmark characteristics of high-risk elderly surgical patients. Closely linked to frailty is delirium, usually but not always occurring during the postoperative period, which significantly diminishes the quality of life of older adults.


Geriatric surgery principles Immobilization syndrome Malnutrition Frailty Delirium 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Nano
    • 1
  • Mario Solej
    • 2
  1. 1.Full Professor of General Surgery—Honorary President of the Italian Society of Geriatric SurgeryOrbassano, TurinItaly
  2. 2.University of Turin, Aggregate Professor San Luigi Gonzaga University HospitalTurinItaly

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