General Anaesthetic Risks

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General Anaesthetic Risks

Although the risks of general anaesthetic are minimal due to all the improvements in the field of medicine and technology, the risks are still there. Things such as previous history of kidney, heart or lung problem, stroke, smoking, alcohol status, previous blood transfusions, high blood pressure, diabetes, jaundice and other psychiatric disorders must be brought to the attention of your doctor.

Even previous surgery and anaesthetic experience should be communicated to the surgeon. I remember when my best friend at high school simply had her wisdom teeth removed but had a terrible after-experience. She unfortunately had an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic and her face swelled up so severely she stayed indoors for weeks on end. It could have been worse and it is best to prevent this. If you are aware of any allergies you may have it is crucial to convey this to your doctor. Even aspirin can cause complications! The medications that one is taking can either increase or decrease the risk of blood loss during surgery. For example, aspirin can increase bleeding complications during surgery. This may need to be stopped a few days prior to the cosmetic surgery.

Anaesthetic drugs may affect people differently, but general anaesthesia is a drug-induced sleep and for many people the risk hereof is very low. For others however, it is more risky. It affects the whole body, including the brain, heart and lungs, and thus increases a person’s risk of side-effects. Although minimal this can include arrhythmia, increased/decreased blood pressure, rapid increase in body temperature, breathing difficulty, heart attack or stroke, and even death. But serious complications and effects are not common, especially in people who are generally healthy. If you are at serious risk your doctor will be able to warn you about it. This is why it is so important to inform your doctor of all medical histories or allergies!

There are different types of anaesthesia and which one you should undergo will be determined by your doctor, depending on the surgery as well as your medical and psychological health. Anaesthesia can be categorised by the degree to which it suppresses consciousness and protective reflexes. Larger procedures often require greater amounts of anaesthesia. From least to most, levels of anaesthetic include local, conscious sedation, regional and general. The options should be discussed with your doctor.


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