Gallbladder Surgery Age Limit?

Updated on November 10, 2009
A.M. asks from Georgetown, SC
11 answers

Have you ever heard of someone being told they are to old to have a gallbladder removed? My uncle is in severe pain and we were told it needed to come out but that he wasn't a canidate for surgery by his physician cause he was to old (he is 73)? Is this the norm cause I am thinking that the doctor just does not want to do it since my uncle is autistic not because of his age. Needless to say I am trying to find another doctor or get in with a surgeon but till then I was curious if I it really is a guideline and I am wasting my time..or if I should beat the stuffing out of the doctor.

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answers from Atlanta on

My now deceased MIL had been told when she was about 85 she was too old for ahip replacement. We found another DR in the Stockbridge area a couple of years later. He did go over with her the dangers of her possibly not making it through the surgery as she did have a pacemaker and some other problems. She had the surgery and lived pain free from this hip problem for about7 more years. There is a liability issue but you should be able to find a surgeon who would chance it. V.



answers from Atlanta on

I think the other responders are correct in a sense that the doctor is making his decision based upon many factors. 1. Is it the insurance companies policy of the age? 2. Sometimes Dr.s may feel like the elderly person wouldn't be able to survive the surgery in the first place. My grandfather at the age of 78 was due to have his gallbladder removed however further testing revealed he had pancreatic cancer. Therefore the doctors decided there was no sense in doing the surgery since he was going to die anyways. They sent him home and called hospice in to care for him and he passed about 3 months later. a sense it depends if the surgery would give them a better quality of life or not. Sometimes the surgery would put them more at risk than just living with it-but if he is in pain that is just cold-hearted in my opinion. How would they like to sit there and live in pain when it could be resolved by surgery-IF they could survive it that is-but that is ALWAYS a risk no matter your age and no matter how minor the surgery is-it's always a risk. Seeking another opinion is a must in my opinion considering your situation.



answers from Charleston on

Ask the doctor for more details on why he is too old. Some older people have health conditions that make it unsafe to do operations. That is generally more the issue than the actual age. As always, a second opinion is a good idea. Like someone else said, different surgeons also have different opinions on who is a good candidate for surgery or not. If two or more doctors agree that he is "too old", then he would probably have more problems following surgery than he does now.



answers from Atlanta on

Forget about surgery, just have your Uncle do the gallbladder cleanse. I had the same pain, was rushed to the emergency room and was told by a surgeon to have my gallbladder removed for thousands of dollars. I am so glad that I had the wisdom (or lack of money) to get a pain pill and get out of there. My sister went on a site called, and I did the cleanse. It is so simple that you will be angry that you didn't share it with your uncle. It is a one day cleanse and I am happy to say that it WORKS!. I passed about 200 stones and the 2 big ones that the surgeon said I could not pass. YES!!!

Your uncle will have to cut out fried foods and junk for good or the stones will come back again. I know that from experience. I have learned that I am just going to have change the way I eat. I have done the cleanse a few more times since the first time and each time I pass many stones. The ingredients to do the cleanse are as very simple and cost less than 10.00.


answers from Savannah on

The doctor is not being mean when stating that your dad is too old for the surgery. Older people do not tolerate surgeries as well as younger people and depending on his risk factors and medical history he may not be a good candidate for the surgery. I would say instead of being angry with the doctor you may want to thank him.

Since you didn't say what exactly his gallbladder issue is, I would suggest drinking lemon water daily. It helps to flush the gallbladder slowly and can even help dissolve stones. It is very gentle, but it is slow acting so it will take some time to see a marked improvement. With more details, it may be possible to recommend more specific herbs. Definitely look for herbs to support the hepatic system.



answers from Atlanta on

That doesn't sound right to me. I'd have to have another surgeon tell me that before I believed it!

If by chance you are in the north Atlanta area I can highly recommend the surgeon who removed mine. His name is Jeff Tucker, with North Atlanta Surgical Associates.

Good luck!



answers from Macon on

Sometimes doctors take into consideration the shape that your body is in: maybe you have to have a beer or two every day, maybe you smoke two or more packs of cigarettes each day, etc. These things weaken your body, you might be in your 70's but your body isn't the body of a 70 year old, it is older. Also the insurance companies will specify an age limit.
P. S



answers from Savannah on

My grandma had gallbladder surgery when she was fairly old. Dont remember the exact age but I know she was older than 73.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

I'm sure you can find a surgeon to do the surgery if you look hard enough. Surgeons are people too and they have complete control over their practices.

I will say, be very careful not to do unnecessary surgery. Liver toxicity can be confused with gallbladder issues and many doctors can't tell the difference. A lot of specific blood work has to be done. but it can be a simple fix. My 65 year old sister was told by THREE surgeons to remove hers and when blood work was done by a ND, she was relieved to find out a liver detox would take care of everything...including the pain. That was 10 years ago and healthier than she's ever been.

Surgeons also don't tell you that if you are over 65 that anesthesia can throw you right into full fledged dementia. Your uncle already being autistic could really create terrible consequences there. Most of the time the dementia is permanent if you don't know how to prepare before and detox after.

Non-Alcoholic Cirrosis of the liver (NACL) is very common these days because of the chemicals in our food supply. It is actually more common now than an alcoholic's Cirrhosis of the liver. A gallbladder is a very necessary organ and IF it can be saved, I would recommend that route.

Just my two cents for what it's worth!




answers from Atlanta on

The question you need to ask the doctor is it his decision or the insurance's decision. Most Insurance company's have age limits on certain surgery's because they don't think the person will live long enough to reap the benefits of the surgery and if you think it is bad now, it will only get worse with the Gov option...

Call the insurance company and ask them why they won't pay, I am sure you'll be surprised at what you find. :) Then be prepared to get a lawyer and sue them if the Surgery is important.



answers from Columbia on

A friend of our family had gallbladder surgery last year at 89. She has no heart trouble or other serious conditions. She has recuperated well from the surgery, but still has some digestive problems. So I do not think age alone could be the reason for the refusal.