Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Discussions of issues related to living with cavernous angiomas

Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby Michelle » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:48 am

Hi Old and New Friends,

I haven't been on the message board much in the last two years but I used to be on it all the time. I'm a brainstemmer (pons) who had a very bad bleed in 2003 (inoperable - abutting the 4th ventricle), mostly recovered from it and I get a little better each year of life. Still deal with some numbness in my arm and hand.

I am considering some pretty minor gynecological surgery which would require being under general aneshthesia for about 45 minutes and a few days of recovery.

My brain has been pretty quiet for the last 3-4 years and I have had lighter anesthesia without any problems, but not general anesthesia since before my bad bleed.

My sister is worried about me getting general anesthesia (she is a pediatrician) but I am not. Should I be? I have called my neurosurgeon for permission but he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby kirkmc » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:13 am

I had general anesthesia for an endoscopy after my big bleed. I told the anesthetist in a meeting a week before the procedure, and I assume that he made sure that there was nothing in the products used that had a blood-thinning risk.
Two brainstem CAs in the pons. Big Bleed in July 2005, previous, undiagnosed bleeds in 1982 and 1987, and several smaller bleeds in the past few years. I live in a town in the French Alps.
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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby Debi32355 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:59 pm

Have you considered an epidural or spinal instead? I had a spinal (and specified no epi) for a minor gynecological procedure a few years ago. I always opt to stay awake if at all possible, and have found that my recovery time is quicker.

That being said, I was told there was no problem with me going under general anesthesia.
Last edited by Debi32355 on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Debi (CM at left midbrain/thalamic juncture with 5 hemorrhages)
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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby PattiG » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:54 pm

I've had general anesthesia for a minor out-pt. procedure & no problem.
I would just remind your drs. & anesthesiologist of your CM & clarify no blood thinners.
Multiple CMs throughout my brain. I have had 4 bleeds requiring surgery between 1987 and 2010. Locations of craniotomies have been: L. parietal, R. parietal, L. temporal and R. thalamus.
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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby Michelle » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:27 am

Thanks for your thoughts everyone! I have an MRI next week to check my brain for final permission for anesthesia. The procedures I'm having requires general anesthesia unfortunately so I'm hoping to move forward with it.

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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby joanncooper » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:50 pm

Hi all,
I found this post from 5 years ago and wondered if there have been any updates/risks on receiving general anesthesia that anyone is aware of. I too am a brainstemmer and I have to get an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.

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Re: Is general anesthesia okay for a brainstemmer?

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:41 am

I haven't heard of any specific added risks for "us". General anesthesia is a strain on your body in "general "...heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. If you're otherwise healthy, general anesthesia is tolerated well by most adults. You want to remind everyone you deal with about your cavernous angioma, risk of possible bleed and no blood thinners. As far as the two procedures you mentioned...did they say they were going to use general anesthesia? I would expect them to use conscious sedation instead which is usually considered less risky anyways. Same thing though, no matter what they use or do....remind them about your cavernous angioma, and your risks. Be your own advocate and don't ever assume they know anything about your history or possible risks. Good luck! You will do fine!
Diagnosed September '09 with one CM centered in the right insular cortex/basal ganglia. Saw many, many doctors and had surgery 12/10/10 with Dr. Spetzler. I am thrilled to have this bleeding thing out of my head even though I suffered a stroke during surgery. Have had/ continue to make an amazing recovery.
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