When you have surgery, doctors put you under with anesthesia. Anesthesia makes sure you can’t feel the pain of surgery. It also keeps your body relaxed so doctors can operate without you moving.

But doctors can make mistakes when giving a patient anesthesia. These mistakes can affect the brain and heart, causing injury or illness. So what can you do to reduce your risk of errors in anesthesia?

Make sure your anesthesiologist knows as much about you as possible

Before surgery, your doctor will take as much information as possible to ensure a correct dose of anesthesia. Your height, weight and age all play a role in the amount of the drug you receive. Ensure your doctor has all the necessary and up-to-date information.

You should also inform your doctor about any family history with anesthesia. If you have a family member who reacted badly when put under, you may have a similar genetic response. The more information the anesthesiologist has about you, the more accurate the dose will be.

Research your anesthesia options

Surgery will affect your life significantly. It is a major investment in your own health. And like any investment, you should research all your options. For example, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives to general anesthesia. Some alternatives may be less risky while still giving you the benefits of general anesthesia.

You should also make sure you know who will give you the anesthesia. The anesthesiology team can explain their plan and help you explore all your options.

Follow instructions from your doctor

Before surgery, the doctor will give you instructions for when you should stop eating and taking medications. If you have food in your stomach, you can vomit it up while under anesthesia. And certain medications can interfere with anesthesia drugs.

You want your surgery to go smoothly with no complications. While there is always risk when you are put under anesthesia, you can do your part to give your doctors enough information to dose you correctly.