Common side effects
As we all know, there is no medical intervention without its own risks and in this respect anaesthesia is no different from other medical specialties. Anaesthesia is very safe and the risk of serious complications from an anaesthetic for a healthy patient is minimal. Surgery and anaesthesia may be associated with greater risks in the less healthier patients.
Most common complications after a GA are sore throat, sickness, dry and cracked lips, feeling light headed and a small bruise around the cannulation site. Sore or dry throat usually settles within 24 hours and nausea may be due to surgery or anaesthesia.
Serious complications are very rare. These include allergy to anaesthetic drugs, feeling the operation (awareness) and dental damage. Any complications that may concern you are best discussed with your Consultant Anaesthetist before surgery.
Regional anaesthetic techniques are very safe and complications are uncommon. The area numbed or anaesthetised by the nerve block will feel weak and you may not be able to move it for many hours. Complete or partial failure of nerve blocks is the commonest problem. If this happens the Consultant Anaesthetist will ensure you are comfortable by other means. Bruising after local anaesthetic blocks is usually minor. Headaches affect 1 in 100 patients after spinal and epidural anaesthetics and can be severe particularly in younger patients. Temporary nerve damage, which include areas of numbness or mild weakness after a nerve block occur in about 1 in 5000. Permanent problems such as permanent weakness, numbness, pain or paralysis are extremely rare.