14 doctors weighed in:

Does general anesthesia have a long-term effect on the memory after the operation?

14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Karen Sibert
Anesthesiology
5 doctors agree

In brief: Rarely

There is evidence to suggest that rarely general anesthesia can result in long-term memory loss.
This is mostly found in very elderly patients having major operations such as heart surgery and joint replacement. Millions of patients have had general anesthesia with no problems whatsoever in the postoperative period. Younger patients typically wake up feeling exactly the same as before.

In brief: Rarely

There is evidence to suggest that rarely general anesthesia can result in long-term memory loss.
This is mostly found in very elderly patients having major operations such as heart surgery and joint replacement. Millions of patients have had general anesthesia with no problems whatsoever in the postoperative period. Younger patients typically wake up feeling exactly the same as before.
Dr. Karen Sibert
Dr. Karen Sibert
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3 doctors agree

In brief: Possibly

There is some research to suggest that this is the case.
If so, it is probably more prominent in longer operations, multiple operations, and worse the older you get. The "flurane" inhaled anesthetics seem to be the main culprits. It is unknown if there's any way to prevent this. Which might be hard, since we don't even know how those drugs work yet!

In brief: Possibly

There is some research to suggest that this is the case.
If so, it is probably more prominent in longer operations, multiple operations, and worse the older you get. The "flurane" inhaled anesthetics seem to be the main culprits. It is unknown if there's any way to prevent this. Which might be hard, since we don't even know how those drugs work yet!
Dr. Scott Welker
Dr. Scott Welker
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Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management
2 doctors agree

In brief: Unlikely

Memory issues are seen rarely and then mainly in the elderly.

In brief: Unlikely

Memory issues are seen rarely and then mainly in the elderly.
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Dr. David Rosenfeld
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Dr. Michael Borookhim
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes there is some

Evidence that this can happen.
More so depending on the patient, and more true as you get older and have more chronic medical problems.

In brief: Yes there is some

Evidence that this can happen.
More so depending on the patient, and more true as you get older and have more chronic medical problems.
Dr. Michael Borookhim
Dr. Michael Borookhim
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Dr. Douglas Goldsmith
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: No

Perhaps if during the induction stage suggestions are made, much like a hypnotic stage, long term memory may be affected.

In brief: No

Perhaps if during the induction stage suggestions are made, much like a hypnotic stage, long term memory may be affected.
Dr. Douglas Goldsmith
Dr. Douglas Goldsmith
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology

In brief: Rarely

The anesthesia can have adverse effects on the central nervous system in the extremes of age.
It does not usually have problems in most patients. The question is wether it is the anesthetic agents, or wether it is that patients have so little reserve that a drop in blood pressure can cause problems. Anesthesiologists specializing in geriatric patients can help minimize these problems.

In brief: Rarely

The anesthesia can have adverse effects on the central nervous system in the extremes of age.
It does not usually have problems in most patients. The question is wether it is the anesthetic agents, or wether it is that patients have so little reserve that a drop in blood pressure can cause problems. Anesthesiologists specializing in geriatric patients can help minimize these problems.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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