The use of certain drugs to achieve reversible coma or loss of consciousness, long enough for surgeons to operate, is called general anesthesia. How these drugs produce their effect is still not understood properly. Here, the patient is not put to sleep, but they are in a state of medically induced coma.
These drugs when inhaled or administered through the veins, make the patient unresponsive and unconscious. When under the effect of general anesthesia, the patient will not be able to feel pain and might also temporary memory loss. Anesthetic drugs are administered only by an anesthesiologist, and he or she also monitors the patient's vital signs and breathing throughout the procedure.
In 1842, Crawford Long used Diethyl ether to perform the first painless surgery, and since then, general anesthetics are being widely used.
An anesthesiologist or anesthetist administers general anesthetic before major surgery.
GA are relatively safe when administered correctly.
Some of the common side effects include nausea and dizziness.
Sometimes, the patient might come out of the effects of anesthesia in the middle of the procedure.
The mechanism of action of general anesthesia is only partly understood.
Why Is General Anesthesia Administered?
The type of anesthesia used is decided based on the type of surgery, overall health, and the patient’s choice. Surgeries that might include the following factors are usually done under general anesthesia:
If the surgery will take a long time.
If it is too painful.
If it results in too much anxiety.
If the surgery results in a lot of blood loss.
In cases of chest or upper abdominal surgery, GA is used as the breathing might be affected.
What Are the Advantages of General Anesthesia?
The advantages of using general anesthesia are:
It reduces how much the patient can recall about the surgery.
It allows the use of muscle relaxants.
It lets the doctor be control of breathing and circulation.
The dosage can be easily altered in case the surgery runs longer than expected.
It can be used in patients who are allergic to local anesthetic agents.
What Are the Side Effects of General Anesthesia?
Even though there are many possible side effects of general anesthesia, it is relatively safe if administered properly. The following are the common side effects:
The side effects that occur immediately or shortly after administering the anesthetic are:
If you are lucky, you will not experience the long-term side effects of general anesthesia. But some patients who are at risk, experience the following side effects:
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) - In some patients with a history of a stroke, heart problem, or lung disease, memory problems and cognitive impairment are seen for a longer time.
What Are the Factors That Increase the Risk of Side Effects?
In most cases, general anesthesia is much safer than the surgery itself. But for certain patients with the following risk factors, the chances of side effects from general anesthesia increase:
In very rare cases, patients become aware of what is going on during the operation. Almost 1 in every 1,000 people regain consciousness, but cannot move, talk, or talk to their doctor. The patient normally does not feel pain, but it can result in long-term psychological problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
For more information on general anesthesia, consult an anesthesiologist online.
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