The use of general anesthetics in surgical procedures has been used on a regular basis since the mid-1800s. The individual who administers these drugs is a doctor or nurse and must be specially trained in the use of these special treatments. Here are a few other facts about anesthesia:
1. Types of Anesthesia
A general anesthesia is only one of several types of ways that this drug can be administered. The other options are as follows:
• Spinal/Regional – This is for operations that are performed on the lower half of the body from the abdomen to the feet. The drug is administered in the lower back and only numbs that particular area. It is commonly used during labor as well and is referred to as an epidural anesthesia.
• Local – This is exactly what it says and that is an injection specifically focused on one area of the body. It is used for only minor surgery such as the removal of a foreign object from an extremity such as the foot or hand. The patient remains conscious throughout the procedure.
Many people are afraid to have surgery because they fear the potential for being aware of the operation while it is occurring. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, a report done in the late 1990s at the Institute of Medicine found that the use of anesthesia was at least 50 times safer than it was even ten years previous to the study.
A trained anesthetist can make a professional judgment in monitoring the patient’s unconscious state to keep them completely unaware of the surgical procedure and not wake up until they reach the post-operative room. This includes brain monitoring machines which increase the safeguards in place for an anesthetist to reduce the risk of patient awareness.
3. Communicating with an Anesthetist
The common practice is not only for the doctor to visit with the patient before surgery, but the anesthetist to communicate with the patient as well. The will discuss not only your fears about awareness and what will be done to prevent it, but they will detail how you will be monitored throughout the procedure. This includes a discussion about medications that a patient may be taking that could affect the anesthesia in an adverse way as well as habits that may contribute to a more complicated administering of the drug like alcoholism, smoking, and drug use.
4. Contributing Health Factors
When you meet with your anesthetists and doctor, make sure they are aware of any chronic physical conditions that you may have or begun to experience that might not be on your medical chart such as the following health conditions:
• Sleep apnea
• High blood pressure
• Drug allergies
• Excessive bleeding
• Loose teeth (may cause choking)
5. Post-Surgery Side Effects
According to Medical News Today, there are some side effects that are associated with post-surgery directly related to anesthesia:
• A sore throat
• Temporary laryngitis
• Nausea and even vomiting