New information highlighting the risk of post-operation brain damage could make those who are planning cosmetic surgery to think again.

A culture of cosmetic and bariatric surgery is growing in the UAE but a study by the City, University of London institute and University College London compares the effect of oxygen deprivation in mountaineers with that experienced by patients under general anaesthetic.

The researchers found that the deprivation could result in patients not having full cognitive function for up to five days.

“Those who are diabetic or have heart issues are more at risk from cognitive dysfunction,” said Dr Mona Chetan Thakre, a neurologist at Zahra Dubai Hospital.

“About 80 per cent will fully recover but some have short-term debilitating effects and it can be a worry for the family. The awareness should be there among doctors so they can warn relatives before surgery.”

Speech is rarely affected, Dr Thakre said, but personality and behavioural change was not uncommon.

Very rarely, patients will not fully recover brain function. This is usually if they are predisposed with a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s or dementia.

“It is not uncommon to see patients come out of surgery with anxiety and depression, but we try to prevent it as well as we can by monitoring any post-operative infections or blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics,” Dr Thakre said.

“It should be a consideration for patients choosing to have cosmetic or bariatric surgery.”