Should I be worried about the possibility of dying under anesthesia? I have a 5 year old and I'm thinking worst case scenario.

I will be getting a septo/rhinoplasty done. I have a deviated septum as well as nasal valve collapse. My symptoms are generally not feeling like I can breathe well, and the constant phlegm in my throat. I'm just not sure if I should get this surgery. I'm hoping to find out the risks. I have mild asthma, and am overweight but not obese. I am 25 years old. Thank you for your time in reading this.

Doctor Answers 7

Dying under anesthesia

In my experience, most deaths during plastic surgery, were in cases that were done under sedation, rather than with endotracheal intubation with general anesthesia. Monitoring your breathing, and other vital signs, is easier with endotracheal anesthesia.

Great Neck Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 8 reviews


There are always risks of any surgery that is performed.  In general, anesthesia is very safe.  If you are concerned, then you should speak to the anesthesiologist in advance.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Should I be worried about the possibility of dying under anesthesia?

Generally speaking, young patients who are in good health, on no meds, no allergies and no street drugs are in more danger driving to the surgery center than when they are having monitored anesthesia. Your weight and asthma are minor issues but if you are concerned, you can be evaluated for anesthesia by an anesthesiologist or an internist before the surgery. Good luck.

Robert Graper, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Anesthesia concerns

Thanks for your question. This is a common concern that many patients share with me. Be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your surgeon and anesthesia provider. That said, modern anesthesia techniques have a safety record comparable with airlines and the nuclear power industry. It's extremely safe. My kids have had surgery four times and I had no hesitation about them going under anesthesia.
For more, please check out my blog post on sedation and general anesthesia!

Robert S. Schmidt, MD
College Station Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Anesthesia safety

Your concerns are common; however, the risks of general anesthesia in healthy individuals are lesser than those of driving your car.  Serious anesthetic complications are rare events.  Furthermore, some rhinoplasty surgeons will perform septoplasty and rhinoplasty surgery under conscious or twilight sedation.  I recommend you discuss your breathing and anesthetic concerns with your surgeon and primary care doctor.  Furthermore, a feeling of phlegm in the throat may be related to silent reflux or allergies with a post-nasal drip; these conditions are typically treated non-surgically.  Best of luck!

Inessa Fishman, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Safety of anesthesia

Modern anesthesia nowadays is very safe. Yes, complications can occur including death in very rare cases. But in an otherwise young and/or healthy individual that passed all pre-OP tests, administering anesthesia is extremely safe. So I would not worry about any issues. However, you need to discuss your medial history with the surgeon and anesthesiologist to determine your candidacy for general anesthesia. Please keep in mind that our routine daily activities have risks. In fact, anesthesia in an otherwise healthy adult is considered safer than walking down the street, driving a car, or flying in an airplane. Best wishes!

Thomas J. Walker, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


Alexis2222, this is a good example of how these sites are worrisome to me anyway. We can not look at a note and assess anaesthesia risk at least no one should. Your surgeon will have to answer this question for you or your primary care physician. Should you be getting a general anaesthetic your asaesthesia provider can also go over the risks. At our institution we follow ASA (American Society of Anaesthesia) guidelines for all our patients so essentially I (the surgeon) remove myself for the most part from making the determination as to wherther or not a patient is healty enought to undergo elective surgery. 

M. Sean Freeman, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.