Frequently Asked Questions

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What is anaesthesia ?
How will anaesthesia and recovery be monitored ?
What are the risks of anaesthesia ?
What are the risks and drawbacks of general anaesthesia ?
What are the risks and drawbacks of loco-regional anaesthesia ?
What about blood transfusion ?
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Anaesthesia consists of different techniques which are indispensable before any intervention, whether surgical, obstetrical or medical (endoscopy, radiology, etc.) Indeed anaesthesia can relieve or kill pain. There are 2 types of anaesthesia: general anaesthesia and loco-regional anaesthesia:

  • General anaesthesia is comparable to sleep and is obtained with drugs injected intravenously and/or anaesthetic vapours breathed in with an appropriate system.
  • Loco-regional anaesthesia only deals with the part of your body that needs surgery and includes different techniques. It aims at blocking the nerves around by injecting a local anaesthetic. If loco-regional anaesthesia is insufficient, general anaesthesia can act as a complement or replacement option.

Spinal and epidural anaesthesia are two specific forms of loco-regional anaesthesia whereby the anaesthetic substance is injected next to the spine and its corresponding nerves.

As French law stipulates, general and loco-regional anaesthesia must be preceded by a consultation with your anaesthetist at least 48 hours before the intervention, unless there is an emergency (Articles D 712-40 to D 712-44 from the Health Code). Otherwise, the intervention will be delayed. Besides, your anaesthetist will see you one day or a few hours before the intervention, depending on the hospitalisation procedures. Spinal and epidural anaesthesia are also performed by an anaesthetist-resuscitator. Do not hesitate to ask him questions during your consultation and his visit on the day of your intervention. The type of anaesthesia will depend on your intervention, health condition and results to prescribed examinations, if any. Final decision will be taken by the anaesthetist-resuscitator who assumes responsibility
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Anaesthesia is always performed in a room equipped with adapted and validated materials. Everything that touches your body is single-use, disinfected or sterilized. At the end of the intervention, you will be taken to the recovery room where qualified staff, under the responsibility of an anaesthetist-resuscitator, will continuously watch over you and see that you wake up in good condition before regaining your room or leaving the hospital.

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Zero risk is impossible during medical interventions, even with great skill and medical knowledge.
However, the current conditions in the recovery room guarantee effective treatment of problems if any of them should occur.

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Nausea and vomiting when waking up after the intervention have become less and less common with the new techniques and drugs available. Accidents due to passage of vomit into the lungs are extremely rare when fasting instructions are followed properly.
Tracheal intubation (into the airway) or laryngeal mask airway (into the throat) are required for your respiration during anaesthesia. Still, they can cause temporary sore throat or hoarseness.
Dental injuries are also possible. Therefore, dental appliances or dental sensitivity should be reported.
Painful redness can be felt in the vein used for substance injections, but it disappears in a few days.
Lying down on the operation table for too long can cause nerve compressions, leading to numbness or, in rare cases, paralysis in one arm or leg.
In most cases, everything is back to normal after a few days or weeks.
Temporary memory or concentration disorders may arise shortly after anaesthesia.
Unforeseeable complications with vital risks such as serious allergies, heart attack or asphyxia are extremely rare. Only a few cases have been reported although hundreds of thousands of anaesthetic interventions are performed each year.

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Headaches can follow spinal or epidural anaesthesia and require some rest for several days and/or specific local treatment. Transitory paralysis of the bladder can require a urinary catheter. Pain in the back localized to the injection is also possible as repetitive shots might have been required in case of problems. Temporary itching can occur because of morphine or by-products.
On very rare occasions, transitory decrease of vision or audition can be observed.
According to the combination of drugs administered, temporary memory or concentration disorders may arise shortly after anaesthesia.
More serious complications such as convulsions, heart attack, lifelong paralysis or loss of senses are extremely rare. Only a few cases have been reported although hundreds of thousands of anaesthetic interventions are performed each year.
In eye surgery, loco-regional anaesthesia very rarely causes eyeball injury.

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We will give you information about techniques and risks of blood transfusion in due course if you are likely to be eligible during the intervention.

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