Why Does My Husband Have Headaches After Surgery?


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Any time you have to witness your spouse go under anesthesia for surgery, it can be a scary feeling. However, it is always comforting to imagine that after the surgery is over, your husband will come out of the situation ready for recovery from whatever procedure has taken place. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for patients to wake after surgery to unusual side effects, especially headaches. Even though headaches may be temporary, it is still disconcerting to see your husband with these symptoms, and you will definitely have questions. Here are a few of the most common questions about headaches following a surgical procedure.

So, what actually causes a headache after being under anesthesia?

There are several reasons why your husband could be experiencing headaches after waking from anesthesia. Some causation factors will result in only mild, temporary headache symptoms and should pass rather quickly. For example, if your husband has a headache upon waking, it could easily be a side effect of one of the medications that were used during the procedure. Anesthesia is often concocted of several different potent medications, and if there are expected side effects, they should have been discussed before the procedure. Headaches can also be experienced after spinal anesthesia. It is always a good idea to bring up the fact that your husband has a headache with the medical staff for reassurance. 

When should you consider a headache after surgery serious?

If the headache symptoms do not wear off along with the anesthesia, there could be something more pressing taking place with your loved one — specifically, hypoxia and or anoxic oxygen depletion. Hypoxia occurs when there is not enough oxygen in the blood to supply the vital organs of the body. In mild situations, headaches can be one of the more apparent symptoms. If not tended to quickly, this can sometimes lead to anoxic oxygen depletion, or complete loss of oxygen supply, which can lead to brain damage and be life-threatening. Hypoxia can be relative to serious conditions and diseases, but can also be a resulting complication of the medications used during anesthesia. If the headache your husband is experiencing is persistent or accompanied by confusion, rapid breathing, or discoloration, it is crucial to call 911 or for immediate help right away.

Should you still talk to someone once the headaches have subsided?

Regardless of whether your husband's headaches have subsided, it is a good idea to get professional advice. Your husband should be checked by a qualified medical practitioner to ensure there is no permanent damage that has taken place, and it is even a good idea to talk to an attorney if you suspect the symptoms are a result of medical malpractice during surgery. Ongoing complications after surgery can lead to incredible medical expenses that you should not be responsible for if indeed someone was negligent in your husband's care during the procedure. If you believe your husband suffered brain damage due to medical malpractice, contact us today.

About the Author

With more than 20 years of experience as a physician, Dr. Gerald B. Parker brings a unique perspective as a Philadelphia doctor-lawyer to Ross Feller Casey.

Gerald Parker, III

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