Exam for anesthesia before an operation

As part of the preparation for any medical procedure requiring anesthesia, an examination is done to evaluate your current health and identify any potential risks or complications that may affect your anesthesia care.

Your anesthesia specialist will take your height and weight, because this affects the dose of anesthetic you receive.

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of complications when you are receiving anesthesia. Your central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system (airway and lungs) are evaluated for any conditions that might cause problems.

Your airway (mouth, throat, and vocal cords) is examined as well as your lungs. This is because problems maintaining an open airway during anesthesia are the leading cause of complications involving the respiratory system and are responsible for the most serious injuries (brain damage, airway injury) and deaths.

Your neck, mouth, teeth, and upper throat are examined for items like dentures, crowns, or loose teeth. How well you can move your jaw and neck and whether you have any limitations is evaluated; any conditions such as a large tongue, a short neck, an immobile neck, or limited mouth opening may make it more difficult to place an endotracheal (ET) tube or laryngeal mask airway (LMA).

Your circulation and sense of feeling in your arms and legs are also evaluated to identify any risks of complications.

Last Updated: January 28, 2010

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