Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
A fair amount of spinal procedures require that the patient be put into a sleep-like state with the help of general anesthesia. It is a powerful medication that ensures you do not feel anything while the spine surgeon performs the operation, but like any tool used in surgery, it carries a few additional risks. Surgical teams and anesthesiologists work tirelessly to ensure that patients are not subjected to additional risk while they are “put under,” but there’s no way to get that absolute risk down to zero. With that in mind, we want to use today’s blog to share some tips for reducing your risk of experiencing complications from the anesthesia during or after your spine surgery.
Potential Complications Of Anesthesia
The risk of suffering a complication due to your general anesthesia exposure is very low, but some complications or issues that can develop include:
- Allergic reaction to the medication
- Blood pressure changes
- Heart attack
- Death (Less than 1:200,000)
There is also the possibility of some less serious side effects, like nausea, throat swelling or hoarseness of the voice, but these tend to be temporary and go away on their own during your recovery. Obviously a number of issues on the above list would be serious concerns, so you’ll want to do everything in your power to make that risk of a complication even smaller. Some ways to do that include:
- Review Your Family History – Your doctor will take a closer look at your medical history, but it’s worth understanding and letting your doctor know if you have a family history of conditions like allergic reactions to medications, heart issues and blood pressure concerns. Talk to your doctor about your medical history and the history of your immediate family.
- Weight Management – Being overweight or obese can complicate the entire surgical procedure, including some aspects of your anesthesia administration. It can be harder to find veins, it can be more difficult to ensure adequate airflow due to underlying conditions like sleep apnea, and it can be more challenging to get the right dose of medication. Shedding some weight as your day of surgery arrives can really help to reduce your risk of complications.
- Follow Your Eating And Drinking Instructions – If your stomach contents make their way back up your esophagus while you are under anesthesia, it can be a major problem. Eating when you’re not supposed to can also impact the medication’s effectiveness, so stick to the eating instructions provided by your care team in the lead up to your operation. If you accidentally ate something when you weren’t supposed to, make sure to bring this up to your care team.
- Give Up Smoking – Smoking can make it harder for your lungs to breathe properly when you are under general anesthesia, and it can also affect your blood vessels and delay the healing process. Many healthcare facilities recommend that you stop smoking at least eight weeks prior to your surgery, but the longer you kick the habit, the better.
- Find A Care Team You Trust – Finally, make sure that you move forward with a surgeon and a care team that you have complete confidence in. Dr. Sinicropi and his team have safely administered general anesthesia to countless patients, and he’s also well aware of what needs to happen in the event that something unexpected develops during the procedure. He’ll do everything he can to make sure that your procedure goes exactly as intended.
For more information, or if you have questions about anything related to anesthesia or spine surgery, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.