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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1997 Jul;55(7):684-7; discussion 687-8.

Morbidity and mortality with outpatient anesthesia: the experience of a residency training program.

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  • 1Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Boston University School of Dental Medicine, MA 02118, USA.



Previous studies regarding anesthetic-related morbidity and mortality rates in the oral surgery office have usually taken the form of a survey. This retrospective investigation of outpatient anesthetic morbidity and mortality was undertaken to compare the safety record of an oral and maxillofacial surgery training program with that of private practitioners.


Records from all outpatient general anesthesia cases performed in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Boston University Goldman School of Graduate Dentistry between August 13, 1990, and September 30, 1994, were reviewed for the incidence of nineteen separate categories of morbidity.


There were 1,126 general anesthetics performed. There were 26 recorded incidents of morbidity (2.3%), none of which resulted in any postoperative sequelae. There were no deaths. The most common complication encountered was laryngospasm, with nine recorded incidents (0.8%). The second most common complication was cardiac dysrhythmia with eight recorded incidents (0.8%).


The low incidence of anesthetic-related morbidity seen in this study can most likely be attributed to proper patient selection. A carefully reviewed medical history and physical examination are the two most useful methods to prevent anesthetic emergencies. Another factor considered when selecting the proper anesthetic method includes the length and difficulty of the surgical procedure, with outpatient general anesthesia being reserved for those procedures that are predicted to be relatively short (30 to 45 minutes), and with little potential for airway difficulties.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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