Laparoscopic techniques are gradually replacing many common surgical procedures that are performed in an increasingly aging population. Laparoscopy places different physiologic demands on the body than in open surgery. PubMed was searched for evidence related to the use of laparoscopy in the elderly population to treat common surgical pathologies. Randomized trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses were preferred. Currently, over 40% of all surgeries performed in the U.S. are on patients older than 65 years. By the end of the 21st century, Americans are expected to live 20 years longer than the current average. However, elderly patients clearly show higher rates of surgical morbidity and mortality overall. Laparoscopic techniques show decreased wound complications, post-operative ileus, intraoperative blood loss, and reduced need for post-operative rehabilitation. In conclusion, laparoscopic surgery is safe in the elderly population and affords multiple advantages including decreased pain and convalescence. However, the physiology of laparoscopy places demands on elderly patients that typically present with more medical comorbidities.
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