Older patients less likely to undergo minimally invasive surgery, study shows


A study published in Surgical Endoscopy, suggests surgeons are less likely to choose minimally invasive surgery when operating on older patients.

Here are five things to know:


1. Researchers studied 233,984 Medicare patients who underwent common surgical procedures compared to the general population.


2. Of the total Medicare group, 102,729 underwent standard operations and 131,225 underwent minimally invasive procedures. The patients who underwent minimally invasive surgery experienced fewer complications and lower readmission rates.


3. Medicare expenditures in 2016 were just shy of $600 billion. If more Medicare patients underwent minimally invasive procedures, the total cost could be lower, as minimally invasive surgeries result in shorter hospital stays.


4. Complication prevention is a key goal in older patients who undergo surgery. For the seven minimally invasive surgeries study patients underwent, five of them had fewer complications as a result.


5. "This study shows there is an opportunity for Medicare and other payers to spend [healthcare] dollars more wisely so that they reward high-value care over low-value care," said Martin Makary, MD, PhD, of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


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