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My mother with moderate dementia has the option of undergoing minor surgery on her hand for her 'trigger finger'. She has complained often for at least 6 months of the discomfort and annoyance. I finally get her an appointment and a go ahead for possible surgery. Now she expresses to me she has fears of the surgery. She isn't really afraid of the surgery but is afraid of the anxiety she feels about it and now says she can "live with" the finger as it is. I know what's coming. She will start the complaints about the finger again forgetting that we have been to the doctor. My question is, should I force her to go through with it. It is basically an elective surgery.

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Thanks blannie. I have contacted my mother's primary care physician and will consider the necessity of such a surgery in light of the new information you and others have provided.
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Daughter 52 a good friend of mine's mom had 3 surgeries in her 80s (knee and shoulder replacements) within about a year of each other and it brought on dementia she didn't have previously. Those are much bigger surgeries than you're talking about, but I would be very wary about too much anesthesia at your mom's age.
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daughter52, please do ask questions and express your concerns about the anesthesia. We believe this is what exacerbated by Dad's Alzheimer's, as it really took off following surgery for stent placement. He also has a disc problem in his back, and his neurologist has told us that 1) with the state of his dementia he is not a candidate for surgery because of the possible effects of anesthesia, etc, and 2) no doctor would perform such surgery on a patient in his stage of dementia. Dad is 80 years old. You really have to weight the pros and cons before deciding which way to go with something like this. My Mom has what is probably considered trigger finger -- hand cramps up and her forefinger curls inward very painfully. She sometimes wears a soft hand or wrist brace when its gets particularly bad. You might try this if you haven't already. Good luck to you and to your Mom.
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Thank you for your input on this question. I/we have gone over with the surgeon the possibilities following surgery (i.e. suture infection, nerve damage, etc). The chances are very minimal, he assures us, but has to lay them on the table nonetheless. Also, he is not pressuring us to go through with it. But I will bring up the anesthesia issue with her regular doctor. My mother (who is 81 by the way) went through a minor hand surgery a little over a year ago and came through with flying colors. But she is older now and in a more advanced stage of her dementia so I will ask her doctor. Thanks.
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You don't say how old your mom is, but in seniors, anesthesia can really affect their mental health. It could make her dementia worse. I'd talk to her regular doctor (not the surgeon) about the downsides of anesthesia at her age. I personally wouldn't put my mom through the whole rigamarole of surgery prep, surgery and recovery for a minor procedure. But that's just me...do what makes the most sense for you and your mom. And I totally get that she'll start complaining about it if you don't get it done. You'll pay either way, sigh.
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I would talk to the doctor for his opinion. IS This surgery going to truly cure the problem; or will the pain and recovery be even worse in the short term. Will she still complain about the finger even once its fixed? Could there be other complications with the anesthesia, wound care, etc. Take these into consideration; if its elective, you can always postpone temporarily and then tell her if she continues to suffer then the surgery will be done on X date.
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