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Anesthesia : Types, Risks, Side Effects and Expectation

For conducting any major surgery, it is essential for a patient to be kept in a state of medically induced coma. General anesthesia is a state of analgesia where a patient loses consciousness because of which a surgeon can easily operate on a patient. This is necessary to ensure that the patient undergoes a painless surgery as the anesthetized brain does not receive any signals of pain.

Who recommends the type of anesthesia needed for a patient?

The doctor(Anesthesiologist or surgeon) recommends the best type of anesthesia that would suit one’s surgery requirement based on the patient’s overall health and surgery preferences. The type of anesthesia depends on the patient’s condition and the final decision to administer the type of anesthesia in any type of surgery would be of the anesthesiologist.

For example, for minor surgery, you don’t need to be administered with general anesthesia. In this case, the local anesthesia works the best, in which a certain body part is made numb. General anesthesia is recommended for major surgical processes. This includes surgery that takes a long time, and has significant loss of blood.

What are the types of anesthesia?

Three main types of anesthesia are generally used in every healthcare centre and hospital. Let’s check them out:

General Anesthesia

General Anaesthesia is a stage where the patient loses control over their reflexes, resulting in a complete loss of consciousness. This medically induced state of coma is essential to conduct painless major surgeries. General anesthesia mainly combines inhaled gases and intravenous drugs.

Regional Anaesthesia

This type of anesthesia numbs the lower part of the body. Regional Anaesthesia is further divided into epidural and spiral, and nerve block anesthesia . The epidural anesthesia is utilized for pain reduction during lower limb surgery and childbirth. At the same time, the spiral anesthetic is utilized for surgeries of the lower abdomen and limbs.

Local Anaesthesia

Local Anaesthesia is mainly administered to perform a minor surgery or medical procedure painlessly while the patient is still awake. It is a one-time injection that numbs a particular part of the body and is useful for procedures like stitching a cut, repairing a bone, or conducting a skin biopsy.

Sedation

also known as “monitored anesthesia care”, is what people have often referred to in the past as “twilight”. Medications are given, usually through an IV, to make the patient feel drowsy and relaxed. Different levels of sedation are possible, depending on the type of procedure and the patient’s preference.

Combined General with Epidural Anesthesia

This is a combination technique that puts you to sleep and provides pain control, not only during the procedure, but afterwards as well. The placement of the epidural catheter allows for you to have continued pain relief after surgery, which will help you sleep and to move more comfortably after surgery. This type of anesthesia is commonly used for major abdominal and thoracic (chest) procedures. The epidural catheter may be left in place for several days  after your surgery.

Risks with general anesthesia

General anesthesia is usually safe and is specifically administered to the ill patients. If a person has any other existing health issues, then anesthesia administration can prove to be a bit riskier. Check out some of the potential risk factors of anesthesia inhalation:

  • In older adults, the administration of anesthesia can produce negative outcomes.
  • These outcomes can include heart attack, confusion, stroke, and pneumonia.
  • Few specific conditions that can pose a greater risk to the patient undergoing surgery with general anesthesia include seizures, alcoholism, smoking, drug allergy.
  • Existing kidney, heart, and lung condition
  • Condition like obesity
  • People with obstructive sleep apnea can also pose a greater risk of anesthesia’s negative outcome.

Unintended intraoperative awareness- A major complication of anesthesia inhalation

This condition is a rare case where a patient is reported to be in a state of consciousness while being operated on. Unintended intraoperative awareness leads to the patient gaining his or her consciousness in the middle of the surgery. It is an extremely rare case, and it is estimated that 1 out of 19000 patients undergoing surgery in general anesthesia may come into the stage of anesthetic awareness.

As this condition is rare, therefore, it is difficult for the experts to find out the exact cause of its occurrence. Here are some factors that revolve around the condition of aesthetic awareness:

  • Heart and lung problems
  • Depression
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Alcoholism
  • A lower level of anesthesia
  • Emergency surgery
  • Consumption of certain specific medications
  • A manual error by the surgeon or the anesthesiologist

What are the side effects of anesthesia?

After a surgical procedure, a patient might experience a few side effects, including:

If you smoke, anesthesiologists recommend that you quit. Quitting at least one week before a scheduled surgery is recommended. Patients who smoke have increased risk of wound infections, pneumonia, breathing and heart problems during and after surgery. Some of the risks of regional anesthesia may include headache, infection, bleeding, nerve damage, failed block and drug reaction. These risks are also usually very low.

When to see a doctor?

If a patient experiences the above-mentioned side-effects, soon after surgery, then they should immediately report them to a doctor.

Things to expect before and after anesthetic administration

If you have surgery in the next few days, then here is what you can expect before and after the anesthesia administration.

Before the anesthesia administration procedure

Before you undergo surgery, your anesthesiologist will ask you questions about your current health status, your past health history, if you have any kind of allergies, your prescribed medications, your food habits, and your past surgical experiences. This will help the anesthesiologist in analyzing the kind of anesthesia that can be administered in your body.

After the anesthesia administration procedure

Soon after the completion of the surgery, the anesthesiologist or the surgeon reverses the drug administration to wake up the patient. It takes time for the patient to gain consciousness in the recovery or operating room. Also, as a patient gains consciousness, he or she feels a little dizzy and confused.

They may experience after-effects like dry mouth, vomiting, muscle ache, itching, nausea, sore throat, mild hoarseness, and sleepiness. Also, as the after-effects of the anesthesia reduce, the patient experiences pain incurred from the cuts and slits made in the patient’s body during the surgery.

Conclusion

There are several general anesthetic drugs that are used during surgical procedures. Various compounds are used in anesthesia production, which delivers widespread effects, including amnesia, analgesia, and immobility.

If you have more queries about the anesthetic procedures, then.

FAQs

How much time does it take for anesthesia to work out?

The effect of anesthesia starts quickly, as it puts a patient into a state of temporary coma within 30 seconds.

Does a person stop breathing while being in an anesthetic state?

No. The breathing process is just depressed, and a breathing tube is inserted into the patient’s mouth to ensure a normal breathing process.

Can I decide on the type of anesthesia to be administered in my body?

No. This decision is being taken by either the anesthesiologist or the surgeon. Also, it depends on the surgical procedure that you will be undergoing.

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