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June 7, 1985

Surgery in Centenarians

JAMA. 1985;253(21):3139-3141. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350450111033

Surgical problems do not end on a person's centennial, and as our overall population ages, physicians will see increasing numbers of these most senior citizens requiring surgery. Accordingly, the records of all century-old patients who have undergone surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the years 1979 to 1983 were reviewed. Three men and three women ranged in age from 100 to 104 years at the time of surgery. One patient experienced complications, but all survived their operation and lived one to two years afterward. The centenarian has already been tested by life and found exceptionally fit. Selectivity and meticulous attention to detail remain paramount in treating these patients, but elective surgery should not be deferred, nor emergency surgery denied the centenarian on the basis of chronologic age.

(JAMA 1985;253:3139-3141)