Risks and Complications of Anaesthesia

Risks And Complications Of Anaesthesia

It is hoped this will not cause anxiety as in reality the risk of a serious anaesthetic mishap may be less than the risk you will take as you are brought to hospital by car. Most serious consequences of surgery and anaesthesia arise in those who are already seriously ill. Your specialist anaesthetist has, like any specialist surgeon or physician, completed at least six years of specialist training and examinations since graduation as a medical practitioner. The minimization and management of any side effects and complications is their prime consideration and responsibility.

Common But Usually Mild Side-effects

  • Bruising at needle site
  • Sore / dry throat and lips
  • Nausea, vomiting, headache
  • Discomfort locally at injection sites
  • Blood from nose after dental anaesthesia

Less Common But Manageable Side-effects

  • Muscle aches / pains
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Mild allergic manifestations eg. Itch, rash

Uncommon But Serious Short Term Complications

  • Awareness under General anaesthesia
  • Damage to teeth, throat or vocal cords
  • Allergic responses / asthma
  • Nerve damage / pressure areas
  • Deep vein thrombosis (economy class syndrome)
  • Aspiration pneumonia

Rare But Serious/Disastrous Complications

  • Severe allergy, shock, Malignant Hyperthermia
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Paralysis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Any of the above can lead to permanently impaired function, coma or death

NOTE: The above list does not, of course, cover every possible event but it certainly includes most known problems. Please ask your Anaesthetist if there is a greater risk of any specific problems for you having the planned operation.