Surgery rates are rising in over-85s but the decision to operate isn’t always easy

The decision about whether to operate can't just be based on age, though age-related decline is certainly a consideration. Philippe LeoneIn January, 107-year-old Daphne Keith broke her hip and became the oldest Australian to have a partial hip replacement. This isn’t something you would have heard of two or three decades ago. For Daphne, the decision was fairly clear-cut. Surgery, with all its risks, was a better option than the alternative: to be stuck in bed for the rest of her life. As she summed it up, “What do I have to lose?” But in many cases the balance between benefits and harms of surgery for older people is not as clear-cut. Advances in anaesthetic and surgical techniques (especially keyhole surgery)