- 1 What is anesthesia?
- 2 What are the types of anesthesia?
- 3 Why do we need anesthesia?
- 4 4. How is general anesthesia used?
- 5 5. What are the side effects of anesthesia?
- 6 Who is at risk of anesthesia and surgery?
- 7 7. What does the anesthesiologist do before the surgery?
- 8 What are the stages of anesthesia?
- 9 What does your anesthetist monitor during surgery?
- 10 Magrabi’s advice:
What is anesthesia?
It is the use of certain medications to decrease the sensation of some areas in your body or makes you unconscious for a certain amount of time.
What are the types of anesthesia?
It is categorized depending on its effect into:
Where the doctor numbs a small area of your bodies like eye, tooth or skin and you remain alert and awake during the procedure.
In this type, the doctor only numbs or blocks pain from a certain nerve in your body and all its sensations. Like nerve blocking your arm, leg. For example, If the doctor administers the anesthetic into your lower spine it is a procedure known as epidural anesthesia and is commonly used in childbirth.
It is the most common and most famous type of anesthesia; in this type, your doctor renders you unconscious and can’t feel pain through your whole body till you wake up.
From here on, this is the type of anesthesia we are going to discuss in this article.
Why do we need anesthesia?
Many procedures and surgeries would have never been possible without the help of anesthesia because all surgical procedures are painful by nature, many patients would prefer not to go under surgery for the fear of this pain and being conscious during the surgery.
In 1842, Dr. Long used diethyl ether on a patient and performed the first painless operation in modern history.
4. How is general anesthesia used?
It is administered either intravenously or by inhalation. Only an anesthesiologist is qualified to administer the anesthetic drug as he/she has special training and studying in this field. His/her area of study includes reading and monitoring the vital signs of the patient, checking for any allergic reaction and how to wake the patient up.
5. What are the side effects of anesthesia?
Side effects during or after anesthesia are not uncommon, but almost none of them are permanent or debilitating. Common side effects include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Bruises from the injection site and/or sore throat from the inhalation tube.
- Temporary memory loss.
Who is at risk of anesthesia and surgery?
Some patients are at risk during surgery either due to the nature of the surgery itself or impose as a risk factor of failure of anesthesia, these patients have certain specific conditions that include:
- Sleep apnea.
- Heart failure.
- Kidney failure.
- Pulmonary diseases.
- Alcoholism and/or smoking.
- Hypertension and/or Diabetes.
- Previous history of allergic reactions to anesthesia.
- Intaking blood thinners like aspirin or heparin.
- Drug allergies.
7. What does the anesthesiologist do before the surgery?
Before surgery, your anesthesiologist will perform an essential evaluation to determine if you are eligible for surgery or not, which drug to use, what is the number of drugs required, what is the perfect combination of drugs and what are your basal vital signs. This evaluation also includes:
- Age, sex, and weight.
- Your medical history
- Your medications and previous allergies.
- Oral and airway inspection.
- Head and neck flexibility.
- Fasting hours before surgery.
- If you are an alcoholic or smoker.
What are the stages of anesthesia?
There are normally 4 stages for anesthesia, they go as follows:
Stage 1: also known as induction.
it is the time between administering the drug and losing consciousness.
Stage 2: Known as the excitement stage.
It is the time after the loss consciousness, it is characterized by heightened activity and delirium.
Heart rate is elevated and breathing rates too, pupil dilatation and nausea are common too.
Stage 3: known as surgical anesthesia.
It is the stage where the muscles relax, nausea disappears and the breathing rate is significantly decreased. In this stage, the patient is ready for surgery.
Stage 4: After the surgery is complete.
The anesthetist’s main aim is to wake up the patient as soon as possible to avoid entering into Stage 4 where too many anesthetics may cause brain stem suppression and lead to respiratory failure and maybe death.
What does your anesthetist monitor during surgery?
Your vital signs during surgery and under anesthesia are very important to monitor, as they are indications of your breathing rate, your heart rate, and overall body functions.
Any change in your vital signs that may affect your body significantly, means that your doctor must stop the surgery immediately or control the bleeding and let the anesthetist handle the situation from here to restore your vitals to normal.
He/she monitors the following:
- Breathing rate.
- Body Temperature.
- Heart rate.
- Blood pressure.
- Blood oxygen level.
- body Fluid levels.
These signs will be used as an indication to adjust your anesthetics levels and if more fluids or blood are needed.
The main aim of your surgical team including your anesthetist is to make sure you have a safe and successful procedure, with no pain or awareness during the surgery.
After the surgery is complete, it is your anesthesiologists’ mission to wake up you up slowly, administer other analgesics to avoid post-surgical pain and prevent any complications.
Anesthesia is the unknown soldier of surgery! It plays the most crucial part before, during and after surgery.
It helps you feel no pain during surgery, monitors your vitals to make sure you are safe during surgery, wakes you up into consciousness slow and steady.
Always tell your doctor your full medical history to avoid complications during surgery and anesthesia as allergic reactions to anesthetic drugs are fatal!
Local and regional anesthesia are safer options for not feeling pain during a procedure, but they are of limited use in major surgeries.