To prepare patients for the risks of anesthesia and surgery through education. To encourage patients to ask well informed questions prior to surgery and anesthesia.

Reactions to Anesthesia

General Anesthesia:  The most likely type to cause side effects.

Nausea and vomiting is a very common side effect.

Sore throat is caused by insertion of a small plastic tube in the airway.

Postoperative delirium or confusion is more often seen in older people.  This can last for at least one week.  This is worse if you are to stay in the hospital.   It helps if you have a loved one to stay with you in these circumstances

Muscle aches are caused by the medications you are given to put you to sleep.

Itching is brought on as a result of the narcotics.

Chills and shivering may result from changes in body temperature


Postoperative delirium or cognitive dysfunction is a condition that results in long term memory problems in some patients. This is seen in older people who have other conditions such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

Malignant Hyperthermia is a serious reaction to anesthesia causing a severe fever and muscle contractions.  If not treated it can be deadly.  It usually is inherited, so make sure you tell your provider if you or a love one has had this before. 

Monitored anesthesia care or IV sedation:  A type of anesthetic that makes you sleepy.  

There are different levels as some people are mildly sedated while others may reach a sedation level similar to a general anesthetic.

Headacheespecially if a spinal anesthetic was given

Minor back pain after a spinal anesthetic

Difficulty urinating after a spinal or from narcotics

Hematoma where the needle was placed

Serious reactions

Pneumothorax if a needle was used to do a regional in the chest area

Nerve damageafter any regional technique requiring the injection of medications around a nerve.

Local anesthesia:  Usually is not associated with side effects.  

This is accomplished by injecting local anesthetic in the soft tissues to cause numbness.

Feel free to visit the ASA site from where this information was obtained.

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