by HE Times

naesthesia is a medical treatment that prevents patients from feeling pain during surgery. It  enables  patients  to  undergo  an  operation safely without experiencing distress and pain. In other words, Anaesthesia is the use of medicines to prevent pain during surgery and other procedures. These medicines are called anaesthetics. They may be given by injection, inhalation, topical lotion, spray, eye drops, or skin patch. They cause you to have a loss of feeling or awareness.


 WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF ANAESTHESIA? : There are three main categories of an anaesthesia used during surgery and other procedures:

  1. General anaesthesia : It affects the whole body. It makes you unconscious and unable to move. It is used during major surgeries, such as heart surgery, brain surgery, back surgery, and organ transplants. General anesthetics bring about a reversible loss of consciousness and analgesia in order for surgeons to operate on a patient. Their use is commonplace, but how they produce their effect is still not fully understood.

  2. Regional anaesthesia : It is used for larger areas of the body such as an arm, a leg, or everything below the waist. You may be awake during the procedure, or you may be given sedation. Regional anesthesia is often used during childbirth and surgeries of the arm, leg or abdomen. It numbs a large part of the body, but you remain aware.

  3. Local anaesthesia : Local anaesthesia numbs a small part of the body. Local anesthesia is for procedures such as getting stitches or having a mole removed. It numbs a small area, and you are alert and awake. It might be used on a tooth that needs to be pulled or on a small area around a wound that needs stitches.

HOW DOES ANAESTHESIA WORK? : If you’ve ever had surgery, unless you are super tough, you’ve gone through it with the benefit of anaesthetics. But, how do these body-numbing elixirs work? Dr. Manish Anand, senior a Anesthesiologists at Dr.B.L.Kapur Memorial Hospital, New Delhi, explains.

Oliver Wendell Holmes coined the term “anesthesia” in 1846 to describe drug-induced insensibility to sensation (particularly pain), shortly after the first publicized demonstration of inhaled ether rendered a patient unresponsive during a surgical procedure.

Since then, doctors have gotten much better at putting us out with drug combinations that ease pain, relax muscles and, in some cases, put us in a deep state of hypnosis that gives us temporary amnesia. Today, there are two primary types of anesthesia drugs: those that knockout the whole body (general) and those that only numb things up locally.

Today, the most common modern general anesthetics are mixtures of inhalable gases, which include nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and various derivatives of ether, such as Isoflurane, Sevoflurane, and desflurane. Skilled anesthesiologists administer the drugs via machines that measure the specific amount necessary to keep the patient out for the surgery, but not forever.

SIDE EFFECTS OF ANAESTHESIA : General anaesthesia is very safe. Even if you have significant health problems, you will most likely tolerate general anesthesia without serious problems. Most side effects of anaesthesia are minor and temporary, though there are some more serious effects to be aware of and prepare for in advance.

Nausea and vomiting: This very common side effect can occur within the first few hours or days after surgery and can be triggered by a number of factors, such as the medication, motion and the type of surgery. Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is an enormous problem for patients recovering after surgery. About 30% of people experience vomiting and 50% experience nausea. As many as 80% of high-risk individuals may experience postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Sore throat: Post-surgical throat pain typically is nothing to worry about unless the ability to speak has been impacted or the soreness persists beyond a reasonable amount of time. The tube that is placed in your throat to help you breathe while you’re unconscious can leave you with a sore throat after it’s removed.

Aches and pains : One of the medications used commonly with general anaesthesia is known to cause muscle aches. Lying completely still in one position during surgery can also cause muscle aches.You may feel muscle pain in the neck, shoulders, back or chest from lying on the operating table.Your throat may feel sore or scratchy.

Dizziness : You may feel dizzy when you first stand up. Drinking plenty of fluids should help you feel better. Dizziness is a term that is often used to describe two different symptoms: lightheadedness and vertigo.

Light-headedness is a feeling like you might faint. Vertigo is a feeling that you are spinning or moving, or that the the world is spinning around you.

Most causes of dizziness are not serious and either quickly get better on their own or are easily treated.

Chills and shivering :  It’s common for your body temperature to drop during general anaesthesia. Your chills may last for a few minutes to hours. Shivering is believed to increase oxygen consumption, increase the risk of hypoxemia, induce lactic acidosis, and catecholamine release. Therefore, it might increase the postoperative complications especially in high-risk patients. Moreover, shivering is one of the leading causes of discomfort for postsurgical patients.

The most important thing you can do to prevent anaesthesia side effects is make sure a physician anesthesiologist is involved in your care. A physician anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in anaesthesia, pain management and critical care medicine.

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