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Anesthesia

General anesthesia vs COPD

09/16/2008

Question:

I attempted to have a lamenectomy due to spinal stenosis, and have COPD. I was anesthesized genearally and intubated. The surgery was halted and I was told that my lungs were not getting enough oxygen. Is there any other way for a lamenectomy to be done without general anesthesia? Thank you.

Answer:

You would have to have extremely severe COPD for it to be bad enough to prevent you from having this type of surgery under general anesthesia.

I understand there are centers where certain kinds of spine surgery are done with regional (spinal) anesthesia but this is not likely to be the solution to your problems.

There should rather be a thorough review of your lung condition, and of the events that occurred during your general anesthesia. It is possible that things did not go entirely according to plan or that the problems were related not only to your lungs but to positioning on the operating table, to heart problems, blood clots, or something else. If your COPD is severe there may nevertheless be some possibility for improvement before surgery, such as treating any infection, using breathing treatments (bronchodilators), stopping smoking, etc.

For more information:

Go to the Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University