Epidural Anesthesia Side Effects: Long Term Side Effects Years Later?
The most common side effect of epidural anesthesia is “episodic memory loss”. This means that you forget what happened during the time when you were unconscious. You may not even remember how many hours passed since your last awakening or waking up from the surgery. You may have been awake for several days or weeks without any recollection of anything.
Another common side effect is “dizziness” which occurs because the brain does not receive enough blood flow to its areas. The brain may not receive enough oxygen due to this. In addition, the muscles of the body may not receive enough oxygen.
This may lead to shortness of breath during or after the surgery.
There may also be a change in mood due to the same reasons. The patient may become confused or disoriented after the surgery. This is referred to as “delirium”.
There may also be changes in mood and behavior. The patient may become more aggressive or irritable.
There are many other long-term side effects of epidural anesthesia. The patient may develop numbness in the lower body. This is because the epidural blocks the signals from reaching the brain.
The heart rate is slowed down to a dangerous level. This is one of the reasons why patients are not allowed to stand up immediately after the surgery. The blood pressure may drop due to the lack of movement. This can lead to fainting.
The patient may also experience difficulty in breathing due to the same reasons. There may also be excess bleeding after the surgery due to the slowed blood clotting process. The patient may also feel that the legs are heavy or weak.
This is because the epidural blocks the signals from reaching the legs also.
Epidural Anesthesia Risks: Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain after epidural anesthesia is another common side effect. This may occur immediately or a few days after the surgery. The shoulder pain is a result of the body’s inflammatory response to the injected material. The injected material may lead to the buildup of excess fluid in the shoulder region. This may cause extreme pain when moving the affected shoulder. The patient may need to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to counter this effect. In case the pain is severe, the physician may also recommend prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications. Severe pain may also require the physician to drain the excessive fluid from the affected region.
The patient may also experience breathing issues after undergoing an epidural anesthesia. This is usually because the body has difficulty in regulating its respiratory system. There may also be a change in the heart rate and blood pressure after the epidural anesthesia wears off.
In some cases, there may be excessive bleeding. This occurs due to a reduction in the blood’s clotting ability after the epidural anesthesia wears off. The physician may need to take corrective measures such as giving blood thinner injections.
In rare cases, the epidural anesthesia may lead to an allergic reaction. This can be life-threatening.
Epidural Anesthesia Side Effects: What to Expect After the Procedure?
After the procedure, the patient may be required to rest for a few hours. It is important that the patient does not get up immediately. This is to allow the blood clots to form in order to prevent excessive bleeding. The patient may be required to wear compression stockings on both the legs. This helps in preventing blood clots from traveling to the lungs. The patient may also be provided with wheel chair assistance after the surgery. The physician may also recommend bed rest for a few days after the surgery. The patients are advised to walk as much as they can.
After the surgery, the patient will be moved to the recovery room for observation. It is important that the patient does not exert themselves after the surgery. This can cause bleeding from the incision site.
The physician will advise when the patient is allowed to get up and walk. The physician may provide pain medication to help manage the pain. The patient may experience dizziness when they get up due to reduced blood pressure.
The surgeon will provide post-operative instructions that the patient needs to follow. These may include:
No driving for at least a week after the surgery.
No heavy lifting for at least two weeks after the surgery.
No drinking alcohol for at least a month after the surgery.
The patient needs to get physical therapy to help with movement of the legs.
The patient needs to undergo a series of vaccines to prevent blood clotting
The patient should get flu shots annually.
It is important that the patient follows all the instructions provided by the physician. This will help in a speedy recovery.
Epidural Anesthesia Risks: Serious Complications
There are some risks and complications that are linked to epidural anesthesia. These include:
Allergic reaction to any medication: There is a possibility of the patient having an allergic reaction to any medication that is administered. This can lead to serious complications that may require immediate medical attention.
Spinal headache: This occurs due to the loss of fluid around the spinal cord. This can result in severe headaches. It may also cause loss of balance and loss of feeling in the legs.
Infection: Any open wound is at a high risk of getting infected. The patient may need antibiotics in such a situation.
Epidural hematoma: This may occur due to a blood clot forming in the epidural space. The patient may experience unusual headaches when this occurs. If not treated immediately, it may lead to death.
Extreme weakness: The patient may experience extreme weakness of the legs. This may be temporary or permanent.
Paralysis: This is a serious and life-threatening complication. The patient may experience partial or complete paralysis of the legs following the surgery. This is a rare complication.
These are some of the most common risks and complications that are linked to this treatment. There are other risks linked to epidural anesthesia that are extremely rare. The physician will explain these to you before beginning the treatment.
Does Insurance Cover This Treatment?
There are cases when insurance companies cover the cost of this procedure. It is important that you confirm whether your insurance covers this treatment or not. The anesthesiologist who will be performing this procedure will be able to advise on whether the procedure is covered or not.
If your insurance does not cover this treatment, you can check with your health plan for any possible in-network providers that offer the same treatment at an affordable cost.
Epidural block for back pain is a simple and effective procedure that can ease the pain caused by degenerative disk disease. The recovery time is shorter than that of a surgical procedure, making it a good alternative for patients who are not candidates for back surgery. The procedure may not work for all patients, and it is important that you consult your physician before undergoing the process.
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