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General Anesthetic Complications

The likelihood of any complication occurring depends on your preoperative medical condition, the nature of your operation and the anesthetic technique used, Complications can occur in the operating room, the recovery room or while recuperating in the hospital or at home.

By far the most common complication is nausea and vomiting. This occurs more frequently in children, those who have experienced nausea with previous anesthetics, and those who are susceptible to motion sickness. Those with diabetes, obesity and pregnancy are also more prone to get sick. Other serious complications, such as nerve injury, awareness, malignant hyperthermia, or death can even occur. Fortunately, the above complications are relatively or exceedingly rare.

Aspiration pneumonia (inhaling vomit into the lungs) can represent a most serious complication of anesthesia. Certain precautions can minimize your risk of this problem. First, we ask you NOT to EAT or DRINK anything for a certain time period before your surgery to reduce the amount and character of the acid in your stomach. Finally, we may use an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) during surgery to prevent your stomach contents from spilling over into the lung.

Other complications that can occur from your anesthesia include excessively low blood pressure (hypotension), high blood pressure (hypertension), irregular heart beats (arrhythmias), heart attack (myocardial infarction), allergic reactions, airway blockage, lack of oxygen (hypoxia), physical injury (e.g., chipped teeth), or muscle cramps. Other complications, such as nerve injury or death can even occur. Fortunately, the above complications are relatively or exceedingly rare.

Minor complications such as sore throat, headache, hoarseness, drowsiness, muscle aches, and fatigue are common for the first several days following surgery.

 

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