Dr. Levy,

Before long I'm going to be having an open biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (I'm 5'4 1/2" and weigh ~320lbs)... I'm not looking forward to the agony of recovery, but I know that I'll have a remarkable tool on my side to help me lose weight and start life anew.

I'm 30 years old and have pretty severe asthma though I'm responsive to albuterol.  I've got a little bit of a PVC, and have sleep apnea but have been approved by both cardio and pulmonology... still, I'm sort of scared.

Anesthesia is a bit scary because if something happens, I don't know and can't respond... not that I could improve the situation anyway.  I'm not worried about the surgery at all, but the anesthesia concerns me.  How risky is the anesthesia for a procedure like this?



While morbid obesity and asthma certainly put you at increased risk for anesthesia (compared with a perfectly healthy person), That risk is still extremely small. Of all the medical specialties, anesthesia is probably the safest. As long as the anesthesiologist is aware of your medical history, they can take the appropriate measures to assure a safe anesthetic. Don't worry about something happening. The anesthesiologists only job is to make sure nothing happens and if it does, they will take care of it.

Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology


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Ronald Levy, M.D.


Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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