I am more concerned about general anesthesia than surgery. What are the risks?


Joe, The occurrence of life threatening anesthesia complications in routine hernia surgery for patients who have neither symptoms, physical findings or history of severe chronic disease and who have good functional status is about 1 in 40,000. In my career I have done over 20,000 operations of all types and I have never seen this happen. The risk is much higher in patients with severe chronic disease. Age by itself is not a significant risk factor for a patient who has excellent functional status and has been properly screened for chronic disease. Probably the most important risk factor for anesthesia complications is chronic lung disease. Over the years I have found that any patient who can climb one flight of stairs at a normal pace and not get short of breath will not have any problem with general anesthesia. Even patients who have chronic disease can be risk stratified and selected for surgery with a risk of less than 1% for elective medically necessary surgery. Higher risk patients are selected for surgery only if their life is in immediate danger. This may be a more complicated explanation than you need but even so it is not complete. There is a lot more that goes into assessing risk and advising surgery. You should know that it is our policy to only select patients who are low or low to moderate risk. If we find any risk factors after completing our evaluation of you including history and physical, EKG, blood count and blood chemistry we will discuss with you how it affects your risks for surgery. Also, we do not take unnecessary risks. If for example we found in your blood work that you were diabetic we would require that your diabetes be treated and controlled before surgery. On a lighter side I can tell you that many of our patients exclaim that their experience was much easier than they expected. Sincerely, Dr.P.


About anesthesia for hernia surgery

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