The term ‘general anesthesia’ refers to the administration of an anesthetic that numbs the body, and puts the person in a deep sleep. It is administered before major surgical procedures so that the person doesn’t feel pain, and also has no memory of the surgery. The following HealthHearty article provides information on this type of anesthesia.
Anesthesia is categorized into local, regional, and general. Local and regional anesthesia are used to numb a small, specific area of a body and large area of the body respectively. The former is administered in minor surgeries, while the latter is administered to block pain in an entire region such as the arm, leg, feet, belly, hips, etc.
When the patient is required to remain completely unconscious, surgeons use general anesthesia. The patient feels nothing from what goes on during the surgery and remains totally oblivious of the process. It is administered when the surgery is likely to take a long time, or if it affects the breathing (which is common in surgeries associated with the chest or abdomen). It is also required for certain procedures which may require the patient to be in an uncomfortable position. General anesthetics mainly involve a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gases. These drugs are administered by an anesthesiologist.
Almost all kinds of medical procedures have their own share of risks, side effects, or complications. The same applies for the use of anesthetics. Generally, people who are otherwise healthy, are not prone to any kind of risks. However, risks might vary, depending on overall health of the patient, and the type of surgery.
Side effects that may last for several hours after the procedure include:
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Shaking chills
- Sleepiness (even if not tired)
There are certain conditions which might add to the risk of complications in patients. Common ones include:
- Disorders of the heart, kidneys, and lungs
- Allergies to drugs or foods
- Sleep apnea
- Family history of reactions to anesthesia
- Alcohol abuse
Make sure that you ask your doctor about the right time to stop eating and drinking before the surgery. Generally, most patients are recommended to abstain from taking anything about 6 hours before the procedure. Also, if you are on some blood thinners, you would be advised to discontinue their use a week before. Certain drugs may be prescribed for you to take while you are fasting. It is extremely important to discuss your medical history with the doctor concerned.
For instance, if you have diabetes, then this should be the first thing your doctor must know about you, before the administration of general anesthesia. This is to make certain alternations in the medications which you take normally. Likewise, if you are suffering from any other kind of ailment, see to it that your doctor is aware of it.
Though the anesthesiologist will keep all the factors in mind while administering anesthetics, and it is uncommon for someone to wake up during the procedure or die, it would be best that you ask him/her if there’s any risk of complications such as a heart attack, lung infections, mental confusion, stroke, etc.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.