General anesthesia is basically drug induced unconsciousness for the purpose of performing some medical or surgical procedure. Anesthetic drugs enable complete loss of sensations in the body, so the person who needs certain painful intervention doesn’t feel any pain or trouble during the procedure.
Although anesthetic drugs are used during the surgery or procedure, general anesthesia is more than that. It also includes pre-anesthetic and post-operative assessment of the patients, preparing them for the surgery and relieving the pain or discomfort felt after the procedure.
Side effects of general anesthesia are higher than of local or regional anesthesia, simply because it involves complete human body. Most of these effects are minor and rare in healthy people, so the doctors are able to manage them very easily. Appearance of side effects is known to depend on several factors, such as: the type of anesthetic drugs and performed surgery, duration of the procedure, individual tolerance to applied anesthetic drugs and some other factors.
People don’t have to experience all side effects after the general anesthesia. Some patients may develop just one or two mild symptoms, while others may have to deal with a range of adverse effects. As already explained, healthy people may have no complications after the use of general anesthesia. However, some patients have been reported to suffer from nerve damage, aspiration, suffocation, organ failure or even death after surgeries performed under general anesthesia.
Statistics show that these severe complications are rare. Only 3 to 5 from a million of people die because of general anesthesia complications and they usually have some preexisting medical conditions.
Possible Adverse Effects of General Anesthesia
Loss of sensation throughout the body is caused by the inhibition of nerve messages to the brain. This mechanism of action is also responsible for some of side effects that might appear in people. Headaches, dizziness and sore throat are very common problems in people after surgeries under general anesthesia. Shivering is one of frequent problems as well.
After the surgeries, people are usually banned from eating or drinking anything for several hours. This is why so many of these patients complained about dry mouth and sore throat. Some might experience nausea, sickness and digestion troubles after the administration of anesthetic drugs.
Inhibition of nerve transmission in the brain may also lead to vision problems in certain cases. Blurred and double vision are problems which may last for some time after the surgery under general anesthesia.
General anesthetics could cause muscle pain and tiredness, although these side effects mainly depend on the type and duration of the surgery. Some patients can experience hallucinations after medical procedures under general anesthesia.