Common Risks of Anesthesia During Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgery is a common procedure performed every day around the world. While these surgeries are often successful, they also come with some risks. Because orthopedic surgery typically requires a patient to undergo anesthesia, several risks can present themselves. 

Orthopedic surgery involves repairing or replacing damaged joints and bones. These procedures include knee replacements, hip replacements, shoulder repairs, ankle repairs, foot surgery, and spinal fusion.

At Macomb Pain Management, we work with our patients to help them avoid orthopedic surgery through various regenerative medicine treatments. Read on to learn more about common risks associated with orthopedic surgery where anesthesia is required.

Anesthesia-Related Complications of Orthopedic Surgery

The risk of anesthesia-related complications can be minimized by choosing an experienced anesthesiologist specializing in pain management. Anesthesia-related complications may include:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) – Hypotension can occur during general anesthesia because it causes vasodilation, which decreases vascular resistance. Vasodilation increases blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and intestines. This increased blood flow can cause decreased oxygen delivery to these organs. The result is that the body’s ability to function properly is compromised.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – Hypertension can also occur under anesthesia because there is too much fluid in the bloodstream. Fluid retention is caused by vasodilation, which causes the blood vessels to dilate. As the blood vessels dilate, the amount of blood flowing into them increases. When this happens, the volume of blood circulating throughout the body increases. The increase in blood volume leads to a rise in blood pressure.
  • Difficulty breathing – Because of how anesthesia works, it can occasionally cause individuals to have trouble breathing. This can even lead to low oxygen levels, resulting in brain injury.
  • Nausea/vomiting – Many people have adverse reactions to anesthesia resulting in nausea or vomiting. This reaction is called PONV (postoperative nausea and vomiting). It occurs in up to 30% of all surgical cases.
  • Infection – It is somewhat common for patients to experience infection at the surgical site. This occurs when bacteria enters the body during surgery. Infections can occur anywhere from one week up to several months postoperatively. If you have had surgery recently, make sure to contact your doctor immediately if you notice signs of infection such as fever, redness, swelling, drainage, or pain.
  • Bleeding – When undergoing orthopedic surgery, your body will form a clot to prevent further bleeding. This clot typically forms within 24 hours of the surgery. If this clot breaks down too quickly, it can cause problems such as deep vein thrombosis, which can block blood flow, causing pain, swelling, and discoloration.
  • Cardiac arrest – While not common during surgery, cardiac arrest where the heart stops beating is a risk factor of anesthesia.
  • Death – is rare but can occur during general anesthesia if there is a problem with the heart or lungs.
  • Blood Clot – Blood clots can occur due to excessive bleeding during surgery. This can happen if the patient’s blood clotting factors are low due to illness or medication use. If this happens, the surgeon must stop the operation until the patient’s condition improves.

Avoid Risky Surgery With Regenerative Medicine Treatments

Regenerative medicine offers great promise to help treat pain and various conditions plaguing millions of Americans. If you want to avoid going under general anesthesia in surgery, reach out to the Macomb Pain Management team today at 248-844-8218. We’ll be happy to provide a comprehensive consultation with our Board-Certified physician where you can discuss your health conditions to determine if regenerative medicine is a good option for you.

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