General Anesthesia, is it Safe?

August 10, 2018Dr. Miguel Delgado San Francisco

Dr. Miguel Delgado
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

General anesthesia causes a lot of concern for many patients, especially those who have never had any type of surgery. Psychiatrists have done studies that show about 30% of people are more fearful of anesthesia than the surgery itself.


It is normal to fear the unknown, understanding a few facts about general anesthesia should help put your mind at ease.

Complications from general anesthesia are usually attributed to patients who are in poor health, obese, smoke, or have cardiovascular or other medical risk factors. These patients would not be approved for electives procedures. Even these patients who may need emergency surgery have only 0.01-0.016% chance of anesthesia causing a fatal complication.

Everyone reacts differently to anesthesia, when waking up it is not unusual to feel “loopy,” over-emotional, or having slurred speech. Most agree that time seems to go by in a blink, and many believe they haven’t had their surgery yet. General anesthesia wears off fairly quickly, but patients are advised not to make any major life decisions for 24 hours after surgery.


Due to some media stories and movies, some patients are very fearful that they may be awake and paralyzed while under general anesthesia. However, by monitoring all vital signs by the anesthesiologist, including blood pressure and heart rate, the doctor would be aware of any increases before the patient would regain awareness.

Dr. Miguel Delgado, M.D. is joined in the operating room with Dr. Craig Riddle, a Board Certified Anesthesiologist, at Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center.  Dr. Riddle calls all surgery patients before their surgery to discuss their medical history and answer any questions the patients may have.

The day of surgery, Dr. Riddle will start an IV drip and administer medications. You will soon feel very relaxed, and like you are in a deep sleep. You will feel no pain, nor will you remember anything after the medication takes effect until you wake up in the recovery room. Dr. Riddle will be monitoring your oxygen intake; circulation, vital signs, fluid loss, and level of consciousness the entire time of surgery to ensure all levels are normal and stable.


Some patients who have had general anesthesia before are concerned about feeling very nauseated upon waking. However, due to Dr. Riddle’s expertise with anesthesia, he rarely has patients experience this uncomfortable side effect. Many patients comment on how relieved they are that with Dr. Riddle there was no nausea!


General Anesthesia is safer today due to advances in both medication and technology. If fear of general anesthesia is holding you back from seeking your dream cosmetic procedure, you are invited to speak with Dr. Delgado and Dr. Riddle to address your concerns, give us a call at (415) 898-4161.

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Dr. Miguel Delgado


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

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