Legal Advocacy When You Need It Most

Anesthesia: the types and risks

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Appropriate medical care in Illinois can help you maintain a high quality of life. In many cases, anesthesia is an essential component of this care. For a simple procedure, your doctor may administer an anesthetic himself. However, for invasive or complex procedures, you may have an anesthesia team that includes a physician, a resident, a certified anesthetic nurse or an anesthesiologist assistant.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, anesthesia is a medical treatment that temporarily blocks pain signals in your body. The type and dosage depend on the procedure and unique patient characteristics.

Anesthesia types

Your doctor may discuss the types of anesthesia that are appropriate for the procedure you require. Local anesthesia comes in the form of a cream or injection and provides relief for a small area. Dental work and minor outpatient surgery utilize this medication. Monitored anesthesia care, also known as sedation, uses medication delivered through an IV. It makes patients drowsy and relaxed. Procedures that use this type of anesthesia include eye surgeries, upper endoscopies and colonoscopies.

Regional anesthesia blocks sensation to a particular area of the body. Common types include the following:

  • Spinal
  • Epidural
  • Nerve block, including femoral and brachial plexus

Your doctor may use both regional anesthesia and sedation to achieve the desired effect. During general anesthesia, you have no awareness or sensations. It may be a gas delivered through a breathing tube or mask or administered via IV.

Anesthesia risks

While anesthetic is a requirement for many procedures, it also carries risk. Delayed delivery, incorrect dosage and unrecognized interactions are only a few of the potential issues that result from human error. Each can have severe consequences. Inadequate oxygen levels can cause brain death. Spinal cord injuries might result in paralysis, and blood pressure complications can cause a seizure, stroke or other catastrophic events.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to anesthesia errors, understanding your options can help you determine your next step.