In modern anaesthesia, serious problems are uncommon.
Risk cannot be removed completely, but modern equipment, training and drugs have made it a much safer procedure in recent years.
To understand a risk, you must know:
- How likely it is to happen.
- How serious it could be.
- How it can be treated.
The risk to you as an individual will depend on:
- Whether you have any other illness
- Personal factors, such as smoking or being overweight
- Surgery which is complicated, long or done in an emergency.
Side effects and complications
- RA = This may occur with a regional anaesthetic.
- GA = This may occur with a general anaesthetic.
Very common and common side effects
|RA||GA||Feeling sick and vomiting after surgery|
|RA||GA||Dizziness, short-term blurred vision|
|GA||Damage to lips or tongue (usually minor)|
|RA||GA||Aches, pains and backache|
|RA||GA||Pain during injection of drugs|
|RA||GA||Bruising and soreness|
|GA||Confusion or memory loss|
Uncommon side effects and complications
|RA||GA||Slow breathing (depressed respiration)|
|GA||Damage to teeth|
|RA||GA||An existing medical condition getting worse|
|GA||Awareness (becoming conscious during your operation)|
Rare or very rare complications
|GA||Damage to the eyes|
|RA||GA||Heart attack or stroke|
|RA||GA||Serious allergy to drugs|
Deaths caused by anaesthesia are very rare. There are probably about five deaths for every million anaesthetics in the UK.
This information booklet has been modified from one in a series produced by: The Royal College of Anaesthetists
Further more detailed information, can be read in the publication “Anaesthesia Explained”, also produced by The Royal College of Anaesthetists.