For those of you who have researched the risks of epidural and spinal anesthesia, do you have numbers handy for risks unrelated to birth or baby? I'm posting here because I bet there are some experts around.
I am having gynecological surgery (not pregnant). Because some of it is laparoscopic, I have to have general anesthesia (regional and light general is not an option; I must be intubated because of the filling the patient up with gas thing as well as that causing pain above the epidural). I am considering asking for an epidural also for two main reasons:
(1) I have a history of PTSD and am worried about increased risk of subconscious frying of my nervous system due to pain experienced by my body, whether or not I remember it consciously. In a worst case if I was one of the few patients (I think it's under 2% or so) who end up with consciousness during some of the operation, well I don't like to think about that. Also in theory they could cut my time under general after the laparoscopic stuff is done ... could go ahead and let me start coming around while still in the operating room.
(2) I could keep the epidural in place for some of the recover period, and end up needing less narcotics. I would like to take as few pain pills after I get home as possible, and I think I would handle the pain better later if I avoided the initial more intense pain. As a very minor thought, I would like for my youngest (2) to be able to visit me in the hospital once during my stay to nurse, but may skip that. I expect nursing in the first 24 hours would be highly facilitated by an epidural.
I'd appreciate thoughts as I ponder these options. Generally I understand that one would not want to take on the risks of both types of anesthesia when possible. No, needle in back would not be fun. I have no experience with regional or general anesthesia.