23 doctors weighed in:
Is general anesthesia dangerous?
23 doctors weighed in

Dr. David Edsall
Anesthesiology
11 doctors agree
In brief: Relative to what
I have done anesthesia for 42000 cases, no deaths, mi, wake ups during surgery for generals, no comas, my most frequent problems =16 broken teeth, 22 inhailing vomit giving 3 pneumonias, two nerve damages.
Is that safe? When i started the death rate was 1 per 5000 now it is less than 1 per 200, 000 for healthy patients. Is that safe? Not nearly as safe as the airlines and it should be and can be.

In brief: Relative to what
I have done anesthesia for 42000 cases, no deaths, mi, wake ups during surgery for generals, no comas, my most frequent problems =16 broken teeth, 22 inhailing vomit giving 3 pneumonias, two nerve damages.
Is that safe? When i started the death rate was 1 per 5000 now it is less than 1 per 200, 000 for healthy patients. Is that safe? Not nearly as safe as the airlines and it should be and can be.
Dr. David Edsall
Dr. David Edsall
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Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management
4 doctors agree
In brief: In general no
The risks are low in an otherwise healthy individual.
Even in those who have medical problems the risks of modern day anesthesia are low.

In brief: In general no
The risks are low in an otherwise healthy individual.
Even in those who have medical problems the risks of modern day anesthesia are low.
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Dr. David Rosenfeld
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree
In brief: No it is very safe
The risk of general anesthesia (ga) is less than that of driving to the hospital to have the operation.
Ga is thought to have a risk of death of one in 350, 000 cases or more. Advances in monitoring, medical training, drugs and support have greatley decreased the risk. The main concerns after ga are usually nausea and vomiting post operatively.

In brief: No it is very safe
The risk of general anesthesia (ga) is less than that of driving to the hospital to have the operation.
Ga is thought to have a risk of death of one in 350, 000 cases or more. Advances in monitoring, medical training, drugs and support have greatley decreased the risk. The main concerns after ga are usually nausea and vomiting post operatively.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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Dr. Kamel Ghandour
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Safer than Ever!!
Hmmm. General anesthesia is safer now than ever in the history of the world.
Nothing in medicine & nursing is ever 100% safe. At our our hospital we take give anesthesia to people who are shot 3 times in the chest & they do well! 90 year olds also do well! it has to do with training & experience & the safety standards that we have as a specialty. Soon anesthesia will become even safer.

In brief: Safer than Ever!!
Hmmm. General anesthesia is safer now than ever in the history of the world.
Nothing in medicine & nursing is ever 100% safe. At our our hospital we take give anesthesia to people who are shot 3 times in the chest & they do well! 90 year olds also do well! it has to do with training & experience & the safety standards that we have as a specialty. Soon anesthesia will become even safer.
Dr. Kamel Ghandour
Dr. Kamel Ghandour
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Dr. Richard O'Leary
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes and no
Having an anesthetic does have small risks associated with it.
The chance of death from an anesthetic is approx 1/250, 000. It is statistically more dangerous to drive on the freeway to the hospital than to have the anesthetic.

In brief: Yes and no
Having an anesthetic does have small risks associated with it.
The chance of death from an anesthetic is approx 1/250, 000. It is statistically more dangerous to drive on the freeway to the hospital than to have the anesthetic.
Dr. Richard O'Leary
Dr. Richard O'Leary
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Dr. Edward Neilsen
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Depends
Although general anesthesia is much, much safer than it used to be, it can cause problems.
Even the discomfort from having a temporary breathing tube can be bad. Rarely bad things can happen with anethesia, as with any medical procedure. Doctors will balance the risk of a procedure with the risk of anesthesia. For example, removing a toenail is very low risk - not worth the risk of anesthesia.

In brief: Depends
Although general anesthesia is much, much safer than it used to be, it can cause problems.
Even the discomfort from having a temporary breathing tube can be bad. Rarely bad things can happen with anethesia, as with any medical procedure. Doctors will balance the risk of a procedure with the risk of anesthesia. For example, removing a toenail is very low risk - not worth the risk of anesthesia.
Dr. Edward Neilsen
Dr. Edward Neilsen
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Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology
In brief: Yes and no
It generally depends on the health of the patient.
Patients are classified as asa 1 to 5, with higher numbers implying higher risk. While loss of airway protection, breathing and lowering of blood pressure are almost certain, life-threatening complications are very rare (1 in hundreds of thousands) in healthy patients. The best way to reduce risk is to follow pre-op instructions and live healthy!

In brief: Yes and no
It generally depends on the health of the patient.
Patients are classified as asa 1 to 5, with higher numbers implying higher risk. While loss of airway protection, breathing and lowering of blood pressure are almost certain, life-threatening complications are very rare (1 in hundreds of thousands) in healthy patients. The best way to reduce risk is to follow pre-op instructions and live healthy!
Dr. Matt Malkin
Dr. Matt Malkin
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