Saturday, December 14, 2019

Fragile elderly patients struggle after still minor operations

The patient, a man in his sixties, suffered from abdominal pain severe enough to send him to a VA hospital in Pittsburgh Healthcare. Doctors found the culprit: a gallstone had inflamed his pancreas.

Dr. Daniel Hall, a surgeon who met with the patient, explained that pancreatitis can be mild enough, as in this case, or severe enough to cause death. Recovery usually takes five to seven days, some in a hospital, where the stone passes or a doctor uses a flexible scope to remove the blockage.

But "because it can be life threatening, after patients recover, we usually remove the gallbladder to prevent it from happening again," said Dr. Hall.



A cholecystectomy, as this operation is known, is not a high risk surgery. When performed with a laparoscope to avoid large incisions, it is usually an outpatient procedure.

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