I'm 78-years old and thinking about having my spine fused at two levels. How safe is this operation for an old gal like me?

More and more adults over age 65 are having spine surgery for degenerative conditions that occur with age. Conservative care without surgery of any kind is always the first choice. But if you've tried this for six months or more without relief, then spinal fusion may be for you.

Today's more advanced technology and improved anesthesia has made spinal fusion safer. The operation itself has changed and improved in the last 10 years. Patient care is better, too. All these things have made it possible to treat older patients using more complex and extensive surgical methods. Spinal fusion is one of those procedures.

Except for the fact that older adults have more health problems, age doesn't seem to be a real issue. Older patients don't lose any more blood than younger patients. Operative time is about the same. They may stay in the hospital a few days more: average of seven days versus five and a half for younger patients.