Sarcopenia is a condition in which patients have an abnormally low muscle mass with poor muscle function. It is prevalent in older patients and is often associated with frailty. It has gained increasing recognition as a significant indicator of poor surgical outcomes. In this review, we examine the concept of sarcopenia and its impact on surgical outcomes and current research on its management. We also discuss the diagnosis of sarcopenia in terms of muscle mass and muscle function and common definitions of both terms. An overview of the impact of sarcopenia on different surgical specialties is reviewed. Lastly, a survey of current treatments available for sarcopenia and their limited impact are discussed with a view to encouraging possible future studies.
Sarcopenia is prevalent in the ageing population and is associated with frailty. According to the Asian Working Group on Sarcopenia (AWGS), its prevalence in Asians ranges from between 4.1% to 11.5%. The incidence of sarcopenia is also likely to be higher in populations with chronic disease.
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