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Nausea / Vomiting:
In the past, nausea or vomiting were relatively common after surgery. With new and improved anaesthesia medication and delivery systems, and appropriate use of anti-nausea medication, there has been a reduction in the number of patients experiencing these symptoms.

There are many reasons for feeling nausea or vomiting. These include the type of operation, your pre-existing conditions, use of pain-killers and the drugs used during anaesthesia. Depending on the circumstances, you will be given preventative medication to reduce your chance of nausea or vomiting. Additional medications to treat nausea and vomiting will be prescribed after surgery if required.

It is very important that you notify your anaesthetist if you have experienced nausea and vomiting after a previous operation.
Sore throat / hoarse voice: This can be due to the breathing tube used during the anaesthetic. Nearly all patients receiving a general anaesthetic require a breathing tube. The sore throat usually gets better by itself and may take a few days. Persistent sore throat may need to be referred back to your anaesthetist or reviewed by your GP.

Teeth Damage:
Rarely the insertion of this tube can lead to damage to your teeth, especially if you have caps, crowns or other dental work. Damage to teeth occurs in fewer than 1 in 100 general anaesthetic cases. Your anaesthetist will take extreme care of your teeth during anaesthesia.

Other minor problems that can occur include itching, bruising, or soreness at the site of the intravenous cannulation; rashes due to medications and adhesive tapes; dry mouth/temporary breathing problems; sore neck, sore/dry eyes; and some discomfort of the arms, legs, or back (that can be due to positioning for the operation). Fortunately, most of these are short-lived.

Awareness During a General Anaesthetic:
Being aware, experiencing pain or remembering events while receiving general anaesthesia is one of the biggest concerns for patients about to undergo surgery. Though it may worry patients, it is extremely uncommon, with fewer than 1 in a 1000 patients remembering any part of their operation and in most of these instances not recalling any pain.

It is very important that you notify your anaesthetist if you have had an episode of awareness during a previous general anaesthetic. There are measures that can be taken to minimise the chance of this happening again.

Rare Complications:
There are some very rare but serious problems that can occur during an anaesthetic. These include severe allergic reactions, heart attack, major blood loss (which may require blood transfusion), blood clots in the legs or in the lungs, stroke, severe asthmatic attacks and other heart-lung problems that may require admission to Intensive Care, or at worst, lead to disability and death.

Australia is one of the safest countries in the world to undergo an anaesthetic due to the training, expertise and professionalism of its anaesthetists. Overall, the risk of one of these major problems occurring is extremely remote. Your anaesthetist is trained to deal with all possible complications. If you wish to know more about these problems, please do not hesitate to ask before your procedure.