As a surgeon, I treat the patient and his or her symptoms and not the MRIs or X-rays. I take into consideration the age and other factors such as medications and illnesses. If the patient is of advanced age I offer the least invasive surgery, which is usually less than an hour. He or she can be capable of going home the same day and resuming activities within the same week. This decreases the complication rate and is very helpful for the patient to return to desired activities. Long hospital stays can be very devastating for patients over 70 years old. We are experts in this field of treating elder patients based on a paper we published in 2003 looking at a minimal complications associated with such surgery. For reference, paper can be found in Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Feb 15;28(4):348-53.