Anaesthesia has made much of today’s surgery possible, and has brought great benefits. Today, joints can be replaced, organs can be transplanted, and disease tissue can be removed with a high degree of comfort and safety. The benefit of anaesthesia needs to be weighed against the risks of the anaesthetic procedure and the drugs used. This will vary from person to person.
It is difficult to separate the risks of anaesthesia from those of your operation or procedure and your general health.

The risk to you as an individual will depend on:
• Whether you have any other illness
• Personal factors, such as whether you smoke or are overweight
• Surgery which is complicated, long or done in an emergency

To understand a risk, you must know:
• How likely it is to happen
• How serious it could be
• How it can be treated

The anaesthetist may use many different drugs or combinations of drugs. The more complicated the anaesthesia and surgery, the more chance there is of complications and side effects.
It is the responsibility of the anaesthetist to advise you on what anaesthetic techniques will give you greatest benefit and reduce these risks as far as possible. Making these decisions may be difficult, but your anaesthetist will help you so that you can make the choice that is right for you.