This is a timely question for me since I'm considering knee surgery.

I'm 79 with a complicated high-pressure job at a call center. I dont remember everything ... there is a department we call to look up the answers since we dont have time too ... but I guess I hold my own. So I imagine it might be evident if I have mental complications ... I hope. But what does it matter if there are symptoms if I have them. The idea is to not have them in the first place.

Anyway ... I'm tired of the pain and want it gone before I get too old physically and have no choice except to have surgery done then no matter what.

I have asked for it and my doc has referenced me to a surgeon.

My friend who is 70 is having knee surgery next week and a spinal is being used.

It sounds like a general anesthesia has been used on most of the respondents with problems. Am I right about that?

I dont want problems with a spinal either but there doesnt seem like any good answer since it’s all individual anyway. But I wonder about the percentages.

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I have a friend who had total HIP replacement under an epidural and 'light anesthesia' meaning she heard and (smelled) everything. Then 6 weeks later had the same procedure on the other hip.
Deathly afraid of GA and weighing in at close to 500 lbs--she had few options. I know the anesthesiologist had a heck of a time getting the epidurals placed (you have to be able to bend over in the tightest c-circle you can..) but it worked.

In her case, she did pretty well. The beyond-morbesity made having a GA a no-go, and she was unable to stand at all.

I think a good talk with your doc and the anesthesiologist will allay your fears.

Yes, many people believe that GA leaves you logey and forgetful for a while after and if you have to be at a job where you have to be on top...maybe the spinal will work for you.

They do keep you lightly sedated, so you can talk and be cooperative if need be. It's a decision only you can make.

Best wishes!
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Definitely talk to the surgeon about this. My mom had knee-replacement surgery last September, at age 90. I was very concerned about the anesthesia but she did fine with it. (It was a kind of modified general, I think; definitely not the traditional general.) My former brother-in-law, age 62, had both knees replaced this year in the late spring. He had problems after the surgery, probably caused by the anesthesia and by his underlying anxiety, for which he had to stop taking medication temporarily. He became delirious soon after the surgery and was "off" for a few days and then would periodically have really severe anxiety.
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An epidural has it's own set of risks......but is typically used for below the waist procedures. At 79 I think it would be a good choice for you. My daughter (although much younger) had bilateral hip and knee replacement surgeries and two revisions. All went well with her. This is a discussion you will obviously have with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. They know best what will work for your situation. As you said "it's all individual"..... but keep in mind replacement surgery has a very good track record as long as you do the necessary PT post op. Good luck too you!
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Wow! Still working at age 79! My hat is off to you!

You are correct that it is general anesthesia that seems to exacerbate loss of cognitive functioning. My mom, at 87 had her broken hip repaired under spinal anesthesia. She had already been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Talk to the surgeon about your concerns. S/he can also refer you you to someone in anesthesiology to discuss what the options are.

Good luck!!
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Betsysue, can I ask how old you are? I don't see it in your profile...This may help get more appropriate answers from the community.
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Riverdale Aug 2019
She states she is 79.
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