My 70-year-old mother is having surgery to take pressure off the spinal cord in her neck. Does her age put her at a disadvantage?

Possibly. A recent study showed that, compared to people in their forties and fifties, older patients were less likely to have good results from this kind of surgery. However, other factors also come into play.

The duration of your mother's symptoms may make a difference in how well she does after surgery. If she's had symptoms for a year or so, she may get better results from surgery than if she's had symptoms for longer. Her doctor may be able to give you more specific information based on MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging. MRI results can show the doctor how much tissue damage there is and may provide an indication of how well your mother will do with surgery.