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IV Anesthesia & Full Disclosure about Prescription & Illicit Drug Use


At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, our goal is to provide the highest quality oral surgical care and safety for our patients.  With that being said, we trust that our patients are forthcoming with complete and truthful information about their medical history. 

Tell Us Everything We Need to Know                                                                                                       

Prior to a consultation with one of our board-certified oral surgeons, we ask that each patient (or the patient’s caregiver) complete the Patient Registration Form.  On this form, patients provide their medical history which includes a section for past and current drug use and/or abuse. Additionally, during the consultation, our surgeons will review a patient’s medical history and allow additional opportunities for a patient to disclose information about illicit drug use and/or the misuse of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, drug abuse is prevalent among younger patients in our community.  It is more common than many believe.  Many kids think it is “normal” and don’t think much of it. Other kids are embarrassed, ashamed and fear getting into trouble with parents if they tell the truth about marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drug abuse.

Complications During Surgery                         

Failing to disclose this information can be detrimental when undergoing the administration of intravenous (IV) anesthesia.  Complications will likely arise and a patient’s use of undisclosed drugs will manifest itself in dangerous ways, putting a patient in jeopardy and requiring a surgeon to make quick, unplanned decisions about the patient’s safety based on the circumstances presented. Some signs that provide evidence of drug abuse include:

  • Inability to sedate a patient with moderate amounts of sedative agents
  • Inability to maintain sedation for the duration of a procedure
  • Significant increases in heart rate and abnormal rhythms that can be fatal
  • Loss of airway and need for securing the airway with a breathing tube


Patient Trust and Privacy       

Patient trust and privacy is important to us at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. For patients 18 years and older, information provided on the Patient Registration Form is confidential and will not be shared or discussed with parents or caregivers unless permission is granted via our HIPPA compliant Notice of Privacy Practices. For patients 17 years and younger, it is our surgeons’ responsibility to discuss unusual findings with parents as necessary. 

Don’t Use Drugs.  But, If You Do, Be Honest About It!         

Without a doubt, it is our recommendation to not use illicit drugs.  We all know that nothing good can come from drug abuse. However, if you or your child, uses drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, or misuses prescription drugs, please be honest about it. Our surgeons will proceed to provide a safe oral surgical procedure in a compassionate and non-judgmental environment, and they will plan appropriately for the anesthesia including the option of utilizing services of a board-certified anesthesiologist in the office.

A Final Note about Marijuana and Oral Surgery

The recent legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana may imply that using it is safe and inconsequential.  At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we disagree with this implication.  When it comes to performing safe surgical procedures, it is recommended that patients discontinue the use of marijuana and marijuana-related products. Marijuana use impacts the effectiveness of anesthetic drugs. It is imperative that patients and their families are honest and forthright about marijuana use so that our surgeons can execute an appropriate anesthesia plan.

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