General Anesthesia Complications

Learn how your age, health condition, pregnancy, medical history and more could impact potential General Anesthesia complications.

General Anesthesia Risk Factors

Alternate Names for General Anesthesia:
Anesthesia - general

Possible Complications

Every precaution is used to prevent complications. Often, medicines are given in advance to prevent certain problems, such as nausea and vomiting. Even so, complications may occur and include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic used
  • Nerve damage or skin breakdown from positioning on the operating table
  • Sore throat or damage to throat, teeth, or vocal cords
  • While rare, there is a small risk of the following complications, especially among the elderly or those with medical problems:
    • Lung infections
    • Heart attack
    • Anesthesia awareness-a rare complication where the patient becomes aware during the surgery

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Medical conditions-heart, respiratory, kidney conditions, and diabetes
  • Certain medicines-especially those that increase bleeding (eg, aspirin )
  • Alcohol use -may alter the way the liver handles anesthesia
  • Time of last food intake-a full stomach may cause food to enter the lungs
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia in the past or family history of adverse reactions
  • Food or drug allergies

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.


Learn what General Anesthesia is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For General Anesthesia
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
General Anesthesia Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
General Anesthesia Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
General Anesthesia Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about General Anesthesia
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO