No one looks forward to having surgery. At the same time, surgery is often required as the best and most thorough way of treating an injury, illness, or disease. Advances in medical technology have made surgical procedures safer and less intrusive than they previously were, and an impressive number of once complicated surgical procedures can now be done on an outpatient basis in surgical centers, thus eliminating the need for lengthy hospital stays. In addition to the concern over the potential outcome of a procedure and reducing the risk of infection following surgery, one of the main risks in having any type of procedure done is the effects of anesthesia. Anesthesia side effects can present serious and potentially life threatening dangers to patients. Before undergoing any type of procedure, be sure you are aware of the side effects that can result from the administration of anesthesia, as well as what you can do to decrease your risks.
Common Side Effects of Anesthesia
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), side effects of anesthesia can occur either immediately after administration, during the surgical procedure, or they can occur as the patient wakes up and the effects of the anesthesia are wearing off. There are three common types of anesthesia and side effects of each include:
- General anesthesia: This type of sedation is administered either by being inhaled or intravenously. Side effects include nausea, sore throat, muscle aches, confusion, and shivering.
- Regional anesthesia: This is usually administered through injection directly into the general area near a procedure, such as an epidural during childbirth. Side effects include headache, back pain, difficulty urinating, and bleeding under the skin.
- Local anesthesia: This is administered directly to the body part undergoing a procedure, such as getting a numbing agent prior to dental work. Side effects are mild, and usually center on the amount of local anesthesia that was administered.
Aside from these common types of side effects, there is always the potential for more serious reactions. Patients undergoing sedation run the risk of experiencing malignant hypothermia, a dangerous reaction to anesthesia that occurs during surgery and causes fever and muscle contractions. Patients who undergo general anesthesia are also at risk for postoperative delirium and confusion immediately after surgery. When undergoing regional anesthesia, there is the risk of undergoing nerve damage, as well as the risk of pneumothorax, which is when the needle used to administer the anesthesia punctures the lungs.
Preparing For Anesthesia
The Mayo Clinic advises patients who are scheduled to undergo any type of surgical procedure to take the following steps to avoid anesthesia side effects:
- Avoid food and beverages prior to surgery. Fasting is usually required for at least six hours prior to any procedure.
- Avoid taking aspirin and over the counter blood thinners for a week before surgery.
- Inform your doctor of any dietary supplements you are taking.
- Discuss any health conditions you have with your doctor prior to surgery, such as diabetes or sleep apnea.
Contact Us for Help
If you or a loved one has had an adverse reaction to anesthesia, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we fight for the rights of patients and their families. We can help hold responsible parties accountable for injuries you have suffered, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. With offices conveniently located in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we are prepared to assist you today.