General Anesthesia and Lupus

Surgery and Lupus

People who suffer from lupus face a great deal of unique health challenges. This disease can make it difficult to perform many routine tasks. It can also have an effect on other medical procedures that may be necessary, such as surgery.

Although surgery is relatively common and typically very safe, people who have been diagnosed with lupus may have to make some extra preparations before an operation. It’s important to communicate with a doctor about all issues related to lupus and surgery but the following tips can help people start a conversation with their healthcare provider.

How to Prepare

People who have been diagnosed with lupus may have some special considerations prior to surgery. Lupus is generally treated with a variety of powerful medications. These medications can have an adverse effect when combined with local or general anesthesia. In some cases, these adverse reactions could be very harmful or even fatal. Before surgery, lupus sufferers should inform their doctors of:

  • All medications they are currently taking
  • Any recent changes in medications or dosages
  • Dosages of current and recent medications

Before surgery of any kind, communication is key. Making sure that all doctors and healthcare providers are fully informed about a patient’s medications is a critical part of surgery preparation. Leaving anyone out of the loop could have drastic consequences.

It’s also important to get thoroughly checked out before surgery. Scheduling appointments with a primary care physician and specialists, like a rheumatologist, can help patients get a better understanding of their health before surgery. Some people with lupus may develop organ damage over time. Spotting this kind of damage before surgery is important for the health of the patient. Surgery is a major ordeal and it’s important to be healthy before any operations.

It may be necessary to alter or adjust some medications before surgery. Some people with lupus who have been taking steroids may need to increase their dosages prior to surgery to prevent adrenal problems. Consulting with a physician who prescribes steroids is a great way to find out specific information.

Some people with lupus may have additional health conditions, like Sjogren’s syndrome or Raynaud’s syndrome. Letting surgical doctors and nurses know about these conditions and their treatments beforehand can help them avoid any unsafe situations.

What to Expect

Before surgery, patients will be asked to provide specific information about their health, their illnesses and their medications. This will help the anesthesiologist use the correct medications.

Many major surgeries will require general anesthesia. The anesthetic may be administered intravenously or through a respiration mask. Patients will feel drowsy and eventually become unconscious. After surgery, patients can expect to spend some time recovering. Lupus patients may experience additional recovery time and may develop some symptoms, including:

  • Pain near the surgery site
  • Bruising
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth

In most cases, these symptoms are normal and will pass with time. However, any symptoms that persist or become worse may be signs of a serious problem and a physician should be consulted.

Risks of Surgery with Lupus

All surgery includes some risk but lupus sufferers may be especially prone to these risks. The medications that lupus sufferers may take can increase their risks of adverse effects during surgery. Additionally, other health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or allergies to certain drugs can further increase the chances of a bad reaction.

Although surgery for lupus sufferers can carry some risk, the benefits almost always outweigh the negative outcomes. The best way to prepare for surgery is to have thorough consultations and checkups with all doctors and specialists that are involved in a patient’s care.

With thorough preparation and a doctor’s supervision, patients with lupus can greatly increase their chances for a safe and effective surgery.


The team at Anesthesiology Consultants takes pride in providing the very best in anesthesiology board preparation. By concentrating on 4 key attributes – knowledge, judgment, adaptability, and communication – candidates don’t just learn how to pass an exam; they learn to become perioperative consultants.

Hits : 1588

Let us know how bright you are; share your thoughts and shine!