There are always risks when undergoing anesthesia, but these days it's a very safe procedure. If you're feeling nervous about being put under general anesthesia, then maybe it will help to know you're more likely to die in a car crash than from anesthesia. The medical professionals who administer anesthesia -- anesthesiologists -- train for over a decade before they receive their degree and license.
There are low risks for a healthy person undergoing a planned, surgical procedure which requires the uses of general, regional, or local anesthetic drugs. In recent years, advancements in the training of specialists, progress with drug improvements, and the evolution of technology allow medical teams to prescribe the appropriate amount of drugs to keep you asleep and safe.
General anesthesia is the dosing of multiple medications by a specially trained medical professional (often an anesthetist, a specialized nurse) who is responsible for administering the right amount to maintain the individual's unconscious state and manage pain with muscle relaxants and painkillers. The anesthetized person won't remember any events while under the influence of the anesthesia.
Waking up during a procedure has been known to happen but, luckily, very few people will experience this frightening situation. In 2014, an examination conducted by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland ran an exhaustive study on inadvertent awareness under general anesthesia to show this only occurs in one in 20,000 people.
Allergies can occur in response to any medicine. However, the anesthetist will monitor you throughout your surgery and as long as you're under the influence of drugs. Discuss all your allergies and sensitivities with your doctor and anesthetist when preparing for a surgical procedure. A few individuals may have a genetic predisposition to anesthetic drug allergies. Talk to your intimate family members about any drug allergies that could help the medical team make appropriate choices for your particular needs.
General anesthesia is a reversible state of consciousness that causes memory loss, pain relief, and muscle relaxation. In the early days of anesthesiology, doctors used a single drug. Today, anesthetists utilize a blend of drugs tailored to the individual's needs, health indicators, and the elements necessary for a safe surgery. Typically, a person undergoing surgery has an oxygen mask placed over their face. Doctors then insert an intravenous line in the hand or arm that contains the muscle relaxant and painkiller. Regional anesthetics injected close to the related nerves relax the section of the body on which the surgeon is operating. Local anesthetic medications are used for minor procedures like stitches or cleaning a deep wound. A doctor injects the medicine directly into the skin, allowing the physician to complete the task while the individual is awake, but without pain.
There are always risks when undergoing surgical procedures; medical professionals cannot eliminate all the dangers that accompany internal medical intervention. However, you're more likely to die in a car accident or from heart disease than from anesthesia. Experts estimate the odds are one in 400,000 (depending on your location and physician) of losing your life due to anesthetization.
You should have an empty stomach going into surgery. The human body is well-equipped to prevent consumed food and drink from coming back up, but while under the effects of anesthesia this automatic response doesn't function in the same way. An empty stomach before surgery reduces the risk of aspiration. Make sure you discuss nutritional guidelines with your anesthesiologist and surgeon.
In some cases, patients who are placed under anesthesia require intubation, where a tube is inserted in the throat to keep the airways clear. In such instances, the tube is likely to come into contact with your teeth. While the process should not affect healthy teeth, if you have any loose, crowned, or capped teeth, or dentures, crowns, or bridges, be sure to let the anesthesiologist know. Discuss your dental concerns with your anesthetist.
The doctor will place an intravenous line (IV) before administering anesthesia. The IV is typically inserted in the hand or the arm and referred to as a lifeline, the route through which the anesthetist will administer all the necessary drugs for a safe and pain-free surgery. The IV is also a port where the medical team can administer fluids to ensure your body receives the essential nourishment for a proper recovery.
Discuss all of the drugs you consume, both prescribed medications and recreational pharmaceuticals, with your anesthesiologist. All drugs and some herbal supplements can cause complications with your procedure. The science of anesthesia has evolved a lot since it developed, but your medical team cannot prepare a safe surgery for you without all the necessary information.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.