General anesthesia risks are low for most healthy people. Nevertheless, if you are preparing for oral surgery, it is important to share any information about your medications and health history with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Complications are rare, but some factors can increase the likelihood of a negative reaction. Being fully informed prior to surgery is the best way to ease your mind and to ensure that your experience is a positive one.
Risk Factors Related to Anesthesia
Some factors do increase your risk of having a negative reaction to a general anesthetic. Smoking is a significant factor, as is heavy or daily alcohol use. If you are taking any type of blood-thinning medication (including aspirin or other over-the-counter analgesics), advise your surgeon and anesthesiologist of the type and the dosage. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or any condition related to the heart, kidneys or lungs should also be discussed with your regular physician, as well as your surgeon, in advance of the procedure. Obesity and sleep apnea are also factors that may increase your chance of an adverse reaction.
Additional Risks and Considerations
In some rare cases, especially if the patient is older or has a latent but serious medical condition, anesthesia can result in additional complications. Those complications may involve temporary confusion or memory loss or other physical manifestations. If you or a member of your immediate family has ever experienced a problem with a general anesthetic, it’s important to advise your surgical team of that fact as well.
Finally, many people experience digestive disruptions from anesthesia that result in vomiting shortly after waking. Letting your anesthesiologist know about this will allow him or her to add an additional chemical to prevent nausea. With oral surgery, vomiting during recovery could result in complications that could easily be avoided, provided your anesthesiologist is aware of the problem.
What Your Surgeon and Anesthesiologist Need to Know
In addition to discussing any of the health issues addressed above, make a list of all medications you take, including the dosage and frequency. Include all over-the-counter medications and supplements on your list. Make note of all health problems you have had, as well as any surgeries.
Finally, list your relevant family medical history or any known complications from surgery. Take the list with you to your pre-operative consultation and discuss it with the doctor. Writing it all down will ensure you don’t accidentally leave out any details. It’s likely that the surgeon will advise you to discontinue all unnecessary supplements or herbs in the weeks leading up to your procedure to avoid unexpected complications.
Some people experience a high level of stress or fear prior to surgery. Be sure to address any concerns or questions you have with your doctor and anesthesiologist ahead of time to ensure that you’ll have a good outcome.
The compassionate medical team at Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center will be happy to answer all your questions about anesthesia risks and help put your mind at ease.