What is General Anesthesia
Anesthesia is the use of medication to block the pain that would otherwise be experienced in a medical procedure and exists in various forms depending on the patient’s needs. One of the options that may be considered is general anesthesia. Of the many types of anesthetics, general anesthesia stands out because it is the only form of anesthesia that results in the patient losing consciousness for the duration of the procedure. Major surgeries frequently require the use of general anesthesia and it may be used in other circumstances as well when less invasive forms of anesthesia are not deemed to be the right choice for a particular patient or procedure. It is often the recommendation when a procedure is expected to take a long time, has the potential to expose a patient to significant blood loss or a cold environment. Surgeries that involve the chest or upper abdominal area are more likely to affect a patient’s breathing, go general anesthesia, and the extensive monitoring that goes with it are often recommended. General anesthesia is administered either by injection on is inhaled by the patient and they affect the entire body.
When General Anesthesia is Needed
The use of general anesthesia also carries the most risk to the patient versus other types of anesthesia. During a procedure, the patient’s vital signs need to be monitored closely and breathing assistance is commonly required. The type of anesthesia and amount used will depend on the patient, and often an anesthesiologist will play a major role in making this decision. Factors considered when making any decisions about the use of anesthetics include food and drug allergies, medication use, vitamin and mineral supplement use, herbal remedies, and the patient’s overall physical and mental health, and any history of anesthesia use and how it has affected them. Patients should also make sure their doctors are aware of any sleep apnea they have experienced in order to help assure that the medical staff is fully prepared. By being thorough in these areas, and by drawing on the many modern advances in anesthesiology, doctors are able to minimize any risk to the patient’s health when anesthesia is used. Keeping the patient safe is always a top priority, and they are closely watched whenever general anesthesia is used during a procedure.
The use of general anesthesia is often described as “putting a patient to sleep.” yet the experience is far different from what happens when a person sleeps in the traditional sense. Pain sensations that would normally wake a person up from regular sleep will not wake them from the affects of general anesthesia. When it is administered both the muscles and digestive tract are relaxed in order to assure that any food or acid remains in the stomach. When a procedure is planned, doctors will usually ask a patient to fast for several hours before a procedure and may ask that some medications be avoided during a period of time before a scheduled procedure.
Managing the After Effects of General Anesthesia
After a procedure that requires general anesthesia, a patient will gradually wake up and may initially feel groggy or confused. They may also feel nauseated or vomit as a side effect from the anesthetics. A dry mouth, sore throat, and mild hoarseness can also occur as well as shivering and sleepiness. As the anesthesia wears off side effects should wear off as well. In some cases, your doctor may administered medications that will help a patient cope with the transition.
Many surgeries that are associated with pain management require general anesthesia, and because of the potential risks and varying reactions that different people have to anesthetics, it is important that the physicians and other medical staff are highly qualified and respected in order to assure that the patient is receiving the best care during this crucial step of their treatment and each step that follows.
At Comprehensive Pain Specialists, many of our doctors are highly skilled in anesthesiology and have successfully administered general anesthesia to several patients and helped them manage the effects both during and after surgery. CPS also works closely with the patient’s regular physician in order to take as much pertinent knowledge about a patient into the operating room whenever surgery is performed. In many cases, procedures can be performed that require less invasive forms of anesthesia, and sometimes pain management plans that include physical therapy may be able to be used in order to prevent surgery all together. Since CPS is highly knowledgeable in this area, primary care providers often refer their patients to CPS when they need this specialized care.