What Side Effects of General Anesthesia Are Normal Several Days After Surgery?

Dizziness and fatigue are side effects of general anesthesia considered normal several days after surgery, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. A condition affecting mental functions called postoperative cognitive decline has also been reported days and even weeks after surgery, states AnesthesiaMyths.com.

General anesthesia can affect the central nervous system for several days following surgery, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sleepiness, blurred vision and impaired coordination or judgment can last for more than 24 hours, and persons having had surgery should not drive, operate machinery or perform other dangerous activities for at least a day or more.

Postoperative cognitive decline is a condition involving a decreased neuropsychological function in areas including memory, decision-making ability and brain-processing speed that can persist for days, weeks or longer, reports AnesthesiaMyths.com. Research shows that this side effect of general anesthesia is more likely to affect the elderly, people with a relatively low level of education, and people with a history of depression, drug abuse or previous cognitive debilitation. Research also indicates that this side effect is less frequently reported among patients who have had general anesthesia than among those who have had other types of anesthesia, however, suggesting that this condition is less a result of general anesthesia than it is of the overall stresses of surgery.