Seniors are living healthier and longer lives than ever before. With life expectancies on the rise, most seniors can expect to undergo at least one surgical procedure during their lifetime. That means going under general anesthesia, exposing the senior to a number of the complications that anesthesia can involve.
There is no denying the fact that an older mind is much more likely to suffer from the complications involved in general anesthesia. However, the good news is that due to advancements in medical technology, many of those complications can be foreseen and prevented.
One of the more common anesthesia complications that older patients are vulnerable to is postoperative delirium. A patient who suffers from postoperative delirium may come out of anesthesia feeling very confused or disoriented. He may have no awareness of his surroundings. There may be concentration and attention difficulties that may last from a few hours to a couple of days after the surgery. Generally, postoperative delirium only lasts for a maximum of a week after the surgery.
Another very common complication that seniors are likely to suffer after going under anesthesia is postoperative cognitive dysfunction which can have more serious consequences. A senior who suffers from postoperative cognitive dysfunction may actually suffer from permanent memory loss. There may be cognitive difficulties in learning, and concentration problems. Identifying if the person is suffering from postoperative cognitive dysfunction after a surgery can be challenging because memory loss and cognitive difficulties are also often part of the aging process for many seniors.
In order to help manage these risks, talk to your doctor before the surgery. Your doctor should be aware of your complete medical history, including all the medications that you have been on and any other procedures that you have undergone in the past. Ask your doctor to conduct a cognitive mental test that will determine the state of your mental function before the surgery. This can help your caregivers understand whether you are suffering from any post-surgery anesthesia complications.
Make sure that the medications that you take after the surgery are completely in line with your doctor’s recommendations. That includes over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements too.
Ask family members or loved ones to help you recover as you emerge from the anesthesia. A loved one may be much more likely to identify signs of confusion or disorientation, and report them to your doctor. Wearing your reading glasses or hearing aids soon after the procedure can also help you get acclimatized to your post-anesthesia environment more easily.
The Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons who have suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.