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Anaesthesia: Uses, Procedure and Risk Factors

Mar 12, 2024

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Types of anaesthesia

By whom is anaesthesia administered?

What preparations may I make for anaesthesia?

What happens when you are not conscious?

After being placed under anaesthesia, what should I do?

Risks Of Anesthesia

What risks or adverse consequences might anaesthesia cause?

Who is vulnerable to problems resulting from anaesthesia?


"Anaesthesia" is the term used to describe the use of drugs, sometimes known as "anaesthetics," to render you unconscious during surgery or other medical procedures. Your nerves at the site of the surgery are prevented from momentarily blocking your brain's centres' ability to receive sensory data by anaesthesia.

Different anaesthetic modalities operate in various ways. Some anaesthetic drugs cause specific body areas to become numb. In order to put you to sleep during more invasive surgical operations, other anaesthetics numb your brain.

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Types of anaesthesia

The type of anaesthetic your healthcare professional selects will depend on the type and extent of the surgery. Options include:

  • Local anaesthesia: This leaves a certain part of your body numb. Providers commonly use local anaesthesia for minimally invasive procedures including skin biopsies and cataract surgery. You are conscious during the entire process.
  • Sedation: Sometimes called "twilight sleep," sedation puts you to sleep until you pass out, but if needed, you can wake up and talk to someone. A few procedures that are commonly performed under sedation are cardiac catheterization, wisdom tooth extractions, and some colonoscopies. Although you won't be completely unconscious, you won't remember the entire procedure as well.
  • Regional anaesthesia: This anaesthesia relieves pain in a larger area of the body, such as a breastbone or a limb. A hand block for hand surgery or an epidural to ease the pain of childbirth are two examples. The use of regional anaesthesia is an option for healthcare professionals, either in addition to or instead of sedation.
  • General anaesthesia: You lose your ability to sense pain or other sensations when you are under general anaesthesia and go asleep. General anaesthesia is used by physicians to undertake more complex procedures or surgeries on the head, chest, or abdomen.

Also Read: How to Perform Central Neuraxial Blockage and Its Types

By whom is anaesthesia administered?

If your procedure only requires numbing a small area, the doctor treating you will usually be the one to administer the local anaesthetic. For more extensive and invasive operations, a physician anesthesiologist will oversee your discomfort before, during, and after surgery and give the anaesthetic medications. Your anaesthesia team may include the following individuals in addition to your anesthesiologist:

  • Residents or fellows pursuing medical education.
  • A certified registered nurse anaesthetist (CRNA).
  • An anesthesiologist's certified assistant (CAA).

Also Read: Inhalational Anesthetic Agents: Types use and Complications

What preparations may I make for anaesthesia?

Make sure your physician is informed about all the medications, vitamins, and other supplements you use. Certain drugs may cause issues or interact negatively with anaesthesia. Furthermore, you ought to:

  • Wait eight hours before eating or drinking anything before going to the hospital, unless directed differently.
  • To improve the health of your heart and lungs, try to stop smoking one day before the procedure. If possible, stop smoking two weeks before to your session for best results.
  • One to two weeks before the procedure, as directed by your physician, cease using any herbal supplements.
  • Use other medications, such as Viagra, to prevent erectile dysfunction at least 24 hours before surgery.
  • Take certain (but not all) blood pressure medications with a glass of water as prescribed by your doctor.

Also Read: Spinal headaches: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

What happens when you are not conscious?

While under anaesthesia, a medical

  • Gives a variety of anaesthetics. They might also give you medicine to prevent vomiting.
  • Keeps an eye on the body's critical indicators, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen content.
  • Identifies and treats conditions including allergic reactions or abnormalities in vital signs.
  • Advises on how to handle pain following surgery.

Also Read: General Anaesthesia: Uses, Risks, Preparation and Procedure

After being placed under anaesthesia, what should I do?

Unless your healthcare practitioner instructs you otherwise, you can continue most of your activities or job following a local anaesthetic operation. If you have been sedated or undergone general or regional anaesthesia, your recovery time will be increased. You should:

  • Get someone to give you a ride home.
  • Take it easy the rest of the day.
  • Avoid using machinery or operating a car for the entire day.
  • Make alcohol available all day.
  • Only take medications and dietary supplements that have been approved by your physician.
  • Avoid rendering any important or legally binding decisions for the entire day.

Also Read: Local Anesthesia: Types, Administration And Complications

Risks Of Anesthesia

What are the potential side effects of anaesthesia?

The bulk of the side effects of anaesthesia are usually temporary, lasting little more than a day. Depending on the type of anaesthetic and how it is administered by the healthcare professionals, you may experience the following side effects:

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What risks or adverse consequences might anaesthesia cause?

Every year, millions of Americans have medical procedures while under safe anaesthesia. However, there is a risk associated with anaesthesia. Potential problems include:

  • Anaesthetic awareness: For unknown causes, about 1 in 1,000 patients undergoing general anaesthesia awakens during surgery. You might be conscious of your surroundings, but you might not be able to move or speak.
  • Collapsed lung (atelectasis): This condition can be brought on by a breathing tube or surgery performed under general anaesthesia. When the air sacs in the lungs constrict or fill with fluid, this rare sickness occurs.
  • Malignant hyperthermia: A patient suffering from malignant hyperthermia (MH) may react dangerously to anaesthesia. This rare inherited illness causes muscle spasms and a fever during surgery. It's important to tell your physician anesthesiologist about any personal or family history of mental illness before undergoing anaesthesia in order to prevent medicines that trigger this reaction.
  • Nerve damage: Although rare, some persons do have nerve injury that leads to either temporary or persistent neuropathic pain, numbness, or weakness.
  • Postoperative delirium: Patients who are elderly are more likely to experience postoperative delirium. This disorder causes intermittent confusion for about a week. Some people have trouble remembering things for a long time and with learning.

Also Read: Neuromuscular Blocker

Who is vulnerable to problems resulting from anaesthesia?

Under certain circumstances, receiving anaesthesia might be dangerous due to factors such as:

Also Read: Intravenous Anesthetic Agents: Opioids, Non-Opioids

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