Although it is necessary during surgical procedures, there are a lot of risks with using anesthesia. Even when the surgery goes as planned, there can be problems that don't show up until after you are already at home and recovering.
As a patient, you're already in a vulnerable position. Undergoing surgery can be scary and risky even before you consider the potential complications of using anesthesia. It has sometimes caused long-term damage or debilitating side effects. Part of the problem can because you are not sure what is normal and what is not during your recovery. Here are some common symptoms of anesthesia complications to watch for after surgery.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea is one of the most common side effects of anesthesia. As you recover, your doctor will likely give you instructions and medications to help you deal with nausea. While feeling sick after surgery is normal, excessive vomiting can indicate a complication. If you're having continual trouble after your procedure, seek medical advice.
After surgery, a certain amount of pain or numbness should be expected, especially at the surgical site. While the anesthesiologist will take care to minimize your pain, you should expect to have residual pain after the procedure. The extent of your pain or numbness depends on the type of surgery and the medications used.
This does not mean, however, that all pain is normal. Pain can be a sign of infection or nerve damage. Although rare, paralysis can occur. If you're experiencing an amount of pain or numbness that seems unusual, contact your doctor. Unusual amounts of pain or numbness can be indications that there was an adverse reaction to the anesthesia.
Other side effects of anesthesia
Other symptoms are common and should be expected to some extent. These include:
- A sore throat
What to do when something doesn't feel right
With any number of potential complications from receiving anesthesia, it is important to pay attention to how your body recovers after surgery. At the end of the day, you know your body and you know when something doesn't seem right. Even if a symptom is "expected," make a follow-up appointment with your doctor or seek emergency care if it become unbearable.
Lastly, keep a record of what you are experiencing during your recovery. Medical mistakes do occur on occasion.