COMPLICATIONS and SIDE EFFECTS
- CHEST INFECTION: A chest infection is more likely to happen to people who smoke, and may lead to breathing difficulties. This is why it is very important to give up smoking for as long as possible before your anaesthetic.
- BLADDER PROBLEMS: After certain types of operation and regional anaesthesia (particularly with a spinal or epidural), men may find it difficult to pass urine, and women tend to leak. To prevent problems, a urinary catheter may be inserted at a suitable time.
- MUSCLE PAINS: These sometimes happen if you have received a drug called suxamethonium. This is a muscle relaxant which is given for emergency surgery when your stomach may not be empty.
- SLOW BREATHING (DEPRESSED RESPIRATION): Some pain-relieving drugs can cause slow breathing or drowsiness after the surgery. If muscle relaxants are still having an effect (have not been fully reversed), the breathing muscles may be weak. These effects can treated with other drugs.
- DAMAGE TO TEETH, LIPS, OR TONGUE: Damage can be caused to your teeth by clenching them as you recover from The anaesthetic. If your anaesthetist finds it difficult to get the breathing tube in the right place, your teeth may also be damaged. It will be more likely if you have limited mouth opening (for example, if you have arthritis of the jaw), a small jaw or a stiff neck.
- AN EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION GETTING WORSE: Your anaesthetist will always make sure that you are as fit as possible before your surgery. However, if you have had a heart attack or stroke, it is possible that it may happen again – as it might even without the surgery. Other conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure will also need to be closely monitored and treated.
- AWARENESS: Your risk of becoming conscious during your operation will depend on your general health and the type of operation you are having. For example, if you are very ill, the anaesthetist may use a combination of muscle relaxants and a lighter general anaesthetic to reduce the risks to you. However, the risk of your being aware of what is going on is increased. Monitors are used During the operation to record how much anaesthetic is in your body and how your body is responding to it. These normally allow your anaesthetist to prevent your anaesthetic from becoming too light. If you think you may have been conscious during your operation, your anaesthetist should be told about it as soon as possible. He or she will want to know, to help both you and future patients.