demyelination and general anaesthetic


Has anyone had a big operation with a general anaesthetic, and did the general make your neuro symptoms worse or make no difference? Last year I was diagnosed with demyelination of the central nervous system (MRI scan shows lesions on the brain, and I have some ongoing symptoms). Apparently I don’t meet all the criteria for MS, but MS is the nearest thing I’ve found to what I’ve got. Now I need a very big op (for something else) under a general anaesthetic - I’m petrified anyway, but especially worried about whether it could worsen the neuro symptoms. Getting an opinion from the MS consultant I saw is proving near impossible. Has anyone had a big op and can you tell me whether it affected your MS symptoms please?

I have literally just read about this in the NICE guidelines. It says, if I can find the page… here it is (on page 71 of the CG8 full guidelines for MS): “People with MS should be encouraged to have any surgery they need, using whichever anaesthetic technique is appropriate. They should also be informed that there is no known increase in the risk of relapse.” Also, “there is no association between type of anaesthetic and deterioration of MS.”

So according to NICE, it’s fine.

I have to say that I avoid general anaesthetic as much as I can - opting for sedation and local anaesthetic if the surgeon is up for it. This is more because I feel like cr@p after generals but recover from local & sedation fast and well, than because my MS is particularly worse afterwards. Any worsening has always been temporary.


Karen x

Thanks Karen, that’s reassuring. I have no choice but to have a general in this instance, so the more positive I can persuade myself to be about the whole thing the better. Thanks again.


Hi Worried x

I’m not diagnosed but I wanted to mention that for years I thought I was allergic/intolerant to general anaesthetic as I was always dizzy, nauseous and violently sick with a really banging headache after it.

Then after having the same reaction to codeine - I mentioned it to the anaesthetist the next GA & he said it was good I’d said as codeine is one of the most usual painkillers they give immediately after surgery.

He gave me something else instead - think it was paracetamol - and lo & behold I felt like a bean after I came round!! I’ve never had a problem since!!

Interesting. I’ve had a small op, after which I felt queasy for days - I had dihydrocodeine pills. Now I have to choose between two smallish ops or one mega op - either way I’m going to feel pants afterwards, but anything I can do to reduce that will be worth it. So I’ll try to ask for something other than codeine. Thanks for the tip.


Hi, I had a kidney removed about four years ago, before ms was diagnosed (even though I have had it for about 12 years) I have had other big operations in the past 20 years and did not notice any differences with my post operative experiences that time. Hope this helps. Lilbill