A general anaesthetic is a rare event for most people, which can be accompanied by tension and also fear. In today’s medicine, anaesthetic procedures are extremely low-risk and usually complication-free methods of pain elimination. Through the planning and explanation discussions, doctors try to take away the patient’s fear and even during the induction of anaesthesia, they always try to make the atmosphere as pleasant as possible for the patient. This topic might also be of interest to you: Risks of anaesthesia
How high are the risks with general anesthesia?
In general, general anaesthesia describes a routine procedure in which complications occur only very rarely. It is not possible to give a general answer as to how high the risk of general anaesthesia is in the end. .
There are too many factors involved in the risk assessment. What can be said is that people with many secondary diseases and also overweight people have a higher risk than healthy, normal-weight people. In healthy people the risk of anaesthesia is practically zero.
Patients at risk are already filtered out during the anaesthesia consultation and the anaesthesia is adjusted according to the respective risk profile in order to minimize the risks. Complications such as damage to the windpipe or vocal cords have become very rare, as has the inhalation of gastric juice. About 20 to 30% of people experience temporary nausea after the anaesthetic, but this is not dangerous and can be well treated. You can find detailed information on this topic here: Risks of general anaesthesia and general anaesthesia and colds
Is the fear of not waking up justified?
The fear of not waking up from the anaesthetic is one of the main fears of many people. The risk of dying from the anaesthetic itself is practically zero, thanks to modern technology and well-controlled anaesthetics.
What is the reason for the fear?
The fear of anaesthesia is mainly due to the fact that one has to surrender oneself defenceless to an unknown and also frightening situation. The knowledge that one is unconscious and completely at the mercy of another person, i.e. the anaesthetist and the surgeons, can be very depressing. So it doesn’t help that you know that the doctors only do what is best for you.
Very few people can process the feeling of complete loss of control without fear. In addition, every person also has various other fears that he or she associates with an anaesthetic. Some are afraid of waking up suddenly during the operation or feeling pain.
Others are afraid of not waking up at all. Knowing that you need to be ventilated during an anaesthetic can also be scary for many patients. Losing the drive to breathe is not a pleasant thought for many patients and contributes to the fear of suffocation. The after-effects of anaesthesia are particularly worrying for the older group of patients, as they are more pronounced in them. You will find more detailed information about this on the following page: Anaesthesia in the elderly