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Is General Anesthesia Really Dangerous?

Posted August 27, 2014 in Plastic Surgery Advice

Surprisingly enough, many people are afraid of getting plastic surgery not because of the actual procedure itself, but because of the anesthesia. They don’t seem to mind the risks of possible infections or complications associated with getting surgery, it is the fear of general anesthesia which holds them back from even attempting the operation in the first place.

Is general anesthesia safe?

Rumors of being “under” or asleep during general anesthesia are not unfounded, and although the doctor is obligated to tell you about the risks associated with general anesthesia, these are very rare. You have more risk in walking across the street or driving your car home from work than you do with dying while under general anesthesia.

Anesthesiologists are highly trained to give the proper dose to a patient. They ask questions and take the patient’s weight, height, body type and also determine whether the patient has any heart conditions or other known health issues that would cause any potential complications.

General anesthesia is very safe, especially with today’s technologies available. The vital signs, such as heart rate and air volume flowing through the lungs, are heavily monitored throughout the procedure. There is no need to worry about “waking up” in the middle of an operation, because the anesthesiologist is part of the medical team who stay with you and keep close tabs on any potential hazards. The anesthesiologist also measures the heart rate, pulse and circulation to make sure there is sufficient blood flow. This is done by using an oxygen saturation meter, electrocardiogram and other tools of the trade.

Staff is always present to keep a close eye on the patient’s level of consciousness; to ensure the brain’s electrical activities and reaction. One of the machines used to observe this is called an electroencephalogram. Patients who choose general anesthesia for their plastic surgery procedures can feel confident that while they may be unconscious, their body is still very cognizant.

Can I die from general anesthesia? At last tally, the chances of dying from general anesthesia were very nominal; less than .01 – .16% or approximately 11 people for every 100,000. Keep in mind that there is always risk associated with any operation, and maybe more so with the actual surgery itself than with the choice of general anesthesia. However, for those inclined to experience a less fearful option, there is a “twilight sedation” type of anesthetic which enables a patient to remain drowsy and coherent, while still going through the procedure. Most people do not choose this for any major type of surgery, especially the more heavily involved surgeries. Twilight sedation is more appropriate for simple and quick cosmetic enhancements, such as isolated lipo or certain types of non-invasive facelifts.

In order to ensure the least risk with general anesthesia, a patient should be healthy, disease-free, a non-smoker and in overall good health.

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