Anesthesia is a procedure which involves giving the patient certain drugs which make some body parts or the complete body numb, making it possible for the surgery to be carried out without any problems.
Types of Anesthesia
There are three types of anesthesia. Firstly, for minor surgeries, a local anesthesia is used, numbing only a small part of the patent's body. Secondly, if a larger part of the body is necessary to be numbed, regional anesthesia is used. This type is perfect for surgeries carried out on, for example, lower part of the patient's body specifically. However, for surgeries which are complicated and demanding, requiring the patient to be unconscious during the whole time, general anesthesia is used.
While the patient is aware of the process during the local and regional anesthesia, he/she does not remember the procedure after the general anesthesia.
Necessity of General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is also used for procedures which last for a long time, or those which affect the patient's breathing. Also, if a surgery requires the patient to sit in an awkward position for a long period of time, general anesthesia is used as well.
In most cases, general anesthesia consists of drugs administered intravenously and gases which are inhaled.
Side-Effects of General Anesthesia
Healthy people are usually not affected by general anesthesia and wake up without problems once the effect wears off. However, possible side-effects do exist and may affect every patient.
Some of the most common side-effects are lung infections, heart attack, confusion which lasts for a short while or stroke. Nevertheless, there were recorded cases of death due to general anesthesia, even though the number of such deaths is small.
Certain risk factors make a person more prone to general anesthesia side-effects. For example, smokers are more likely to be affected negatively by this procedure. Also, people who are allergic to drugs or specific types of food may also suffer from general anesthesia. Finally, overweight people, individuals with sleep apnea, those who have a family history of low-tolerance of anesthesia and alcoholics are all people who have increased risks of experiencing side-effects during anesthesia.
Rules Before Taking General Anesthesia
For the above mentioned reasons, patients who are about to have anesthesia administered are not allowed to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure. Also, if the patients are on certain kinds of drugs, especially blood thinners, they need to stop taking these a week before the surgery. Additionally, if the patient is suffering from any health conditions, he/she should let the doctor know it.
Finally, once the anesthesia wears off vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, sore throat, shaking chills or sleepiness may occur.