Unfortunately many of us need to get through the surgical procedure in the course of the life.
In many cases, intervention is carried with use of anesthesia, in order to avoid pain and complications during the surgery.
There are actually several types of anesthesia. Local type is used to get rid of pain in the small part of the body during minor procedures. Regional anesthesia turns off sensitivity in entire body area (for example, lower half of the trunk during childbirth).
General anesthesia provides analgesia and sedation of the patient during the surgery. When person gets intravenous and/or inhaled medications, he or she falls asleep. This deep sleep looks like a real coma, in which individual loses consciousness and doesn’t feel any painful sensations.
Like all medical procedures, anesthesia have wide variety of side effects and risks. But in general, it was recognized as rather safe medical way, used to provide comfort and safety to both patient and surgeon.
However specialists suppose that anesthesia and surgery may impact on the brain and impair mental performance in subsequent.
Recent research involved people from the WRAP (the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention). Their average age was nearly 54 years old.
Investigators studied 964 participants, 312 of whom had had a surgery (or several surgeries) with use of general anesthesia. Other 652 people hadn’t any interventions at all. To avoid errors, experts excluded individuals, who had cardiac and brain surgeries, which could potentially impair cognitive function.
All people, involved to the study, had completely normal mental performance at the beginning.
In the course of following several years, participants underwent numerous psychological tests and cognitive examinations.
The results show that those, who got general anesthesia, had slight decline in the immediate memory after four years, in comparison with people, who didn’t have it. Moreover, it was found that duration of anesthesia may also play a role. Thus, the longer was time of exposure to general anesthesia, the greater was impairment in concentration, planning and other executive functions.
It’s worth noting that the effects were extremely mild and insignificant.
In addition to this, it’s not clear enough, whether impairment is caused by anesthesia, surgery, their combination or some other factors.
In fact, your body releases inflammatory substances during injury that may affect brain cells and lead to cognitive drop in the future.
That’s why more research in needed to prove or refute correlation between anesthesia and changes in brain functioning.