Very rare (1/10,000 - 1/200,000)
- DAMAGE TO THE EYES: Anaesthetists take great care to protect your eyes. Your eyelids are held closed with adhesive tape, which is removed before you wake up. However, sterilizing fluids could leak past the tapes or you could brush your eyes as you wake up after the tapes have been removed. These could cause damage to the surface of your eye, which is usually temporary and responds to drops.
- SERIOUS ALLERGY TO DRUGS: Allergic reactions will be noticed and treated very quickly. Very rarely, these reactions lead to death even in healthy people. Your anaesthetist will want to know about any allergies in yourself or your family. It has been estimated that the incidence of serious allergy to drugs in the operating room is about 1/10,000-13,000.
- NERVE DAMAGE: Nerve damage (paralysis or numbness) may be due to damage by the needle when performing a regional block, or it can be caused by pressure on a nerve during an operation. Most nerve damage is temporary and recovers within two to three months.
- DEATH: Deaths caused by anaesthesia are very rare, and are usually caused by a combination of four or five complications arising together. There are probably about 4-5 deaths for every million anaesthetics.
- EQUIPMENT FAILURE: Vital equipment that could fail includes The anaesthetic gas supply or the ventilator. Monitors are now used which give an immediate warning of problems, and these failures rarely have serious effects.