Risk at a glance

The infographic below is a summary which shows the common events and risks that healthy adult patients of normal weight face when having a general anaesthetic for routine surgery (specialist surgeries may carry different risks). 

Modern anaesthetics are very safe. There are some common side effects from the anaesthetic drugs or equipment used which are usually not serious or long lasting. Risk will vary between individuals and will depend on the procedure and anaesthetic technique used. Your anaesthetist will discuss with you the risks that they believe to be more significant for you.

There are other less common risks that your anaesthetist will not normally discuss routinely unless they believe you are at higher risk. These have not been shown below.

For further detail on specific risks, please see our risk leaflets.

Translations of our risk infographic can be found below