Are there Long Term Side Effects of Anesthesia?

The use of anesthesia is generally safe and effective in modern medicine. Most people recover fully from anesthesia and do not experience long-term effects. However, any medication or medical procedure does carry some risks and potential side effects.

Potential long-term side effects of anesthesia may include:

  • Mental Confusion/Cognitive Dysfunction: Some people may experience memory loss, confusion, or difficulty concentrating after undergoing anesthesia. These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve within a few hours or days , but in rare cases, particularly in the elderly, they may persist longer.
  • Numbness or Weakness in an Area: Regional anesthesia (such as a spinal or epidural anesthetic) results in numbness and weakness in the affected area. Sometimes, numbness, tingling and weakness can last longer than expected.

It is important to note that these risks are generally low and the vast majority of people who undergo anesthesia experience no long-term effects. Your anesthesia team will carefully evaluate your individual risk factors. During your preanesthetic evaluation, share your concerns and expectations. Ask if there is anything you can do to lower your risks. Together, your team will work with you to create an anesthesia plan that is safe and effective.

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