Preoperative pregnancy testing

Janae L. Maher, Raman C. Mahabir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: In up to 2% of all pregnancies, the need for general anesthesia in a nonobstetrical surgery arises. Surgery on a pregnant woman may have significant implications for the fetus, patient, physician and hospital. On review of the plastic surgery literature, the authors were unable to find current guidelines or recommendations for preoperative pregnancy testing in the plastic surgery patient population. Methods: Literature regarding maternal and fetal risk during anesthesia and surgery, as well as preoperative pregnancy testing was identified by performing a PubMed, OVID and MEDLINE key word search. The current literature was subsequently reviewed and summarized. Results: A report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Preanesthesia Evaluation allows physicians and hospitals to implement their own policies and practices with regard to preoperative pregnancy testing. The overall frequency of an incidentally found positive preoperative pregnancy test ranges from 0.34% to 2.4%. Discussion: Various studies have reported increased rates of spontaneous abortions, congenital anomalies, such as neural tube defects, and low and very low birth weight infants born to mothers exposed to anesthesia and surgery during pregnancy. Because the accepted practice is to postpone elective surgery during pregnancy, identifying these patients before surgery is critical. Conclusions: Based on the current evidence, the authors' best practice recommendation for preoperative pregnancy testing is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e32-e34
JournalCanadian Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • Anesthesia
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Preoperative assessment
  • Surgery during pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Preoperative pregnancy testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this