I am having two surgeries in the next few months; one is to remove a lump in my breast the other is to have a supra pubic catheter placed. I am very concerned about the general anesthesia, can I really end up making the ms worse? I am scared but I don't have a lot of choice.
Very good question; many anesthesiology and surgery textbooks still mention that the stress of surgery or perhaps anesthesia may cause a relapse of MS, although there is no evidence (anecdotal or otherwise) in the modern era to support this statement. I have seen old case reports describing transient worsening of MS symptoms following surgery with anesthesia but no reports for many decades. In fact the evidence suggests that surgery, general anesthesia and epidural anesthesia are NOT associated with worsening of MS.
The real question is whether both surgical procedures can be performed at the same time to limit the amount of anesthesia and the combined recovery time from surgery. After all anesthesia has it’s own very small risks, even without MS, and post operative pain from any surgical procedure often increases muscle spasms in people with MS. Limiting these problems to one surgical episode would be a good idea, although your doctors may have very good reasons not to combine the two procedures. It is certainly an idea worth discussing with them.
Good luck and be brave. Most people with MS do great with surgery.
-Rip Kinkel, MD
If anyone out there has had these types of surgeries or has some helpful advice for the person that asked this question, please make a comment below. Thanks!