Anesthesia: Risks and Reality


In movies about the old west, a cowboy getting a bullet taken out might get a shot of whiskey or a rag to bite down on. Anesthesia has come a long way since then. Doctors now have a wide array of medicines to help prevent pain during medical procedures.

What are the types of anesthesia?

Local anesthesia is used to numb only a small area. It doesn’t put you to sleep. It may be used if you get stitches or have a skin growth removed. It’s usually given as a shot into the area that needs to be numbed.

Conscious sedation uses medicines that relax you and relieve pain. You’re awake, but do not feel pain. You can usually answer questions. Later, you won’t remember what happened.This type of anesthesia is used for procedures such as colon exams (colonoscopy) and vasectomy. Conscious sedationis usually given through an IV line into a vein, but it can also be given as pills or suppositories.

Regional anesthesia numbs a larger area, such as the lower part of your body. As with local anesthesia, you’re awake, but you may also be given conscious sedation to help you relax. Regional anesthesia includes:

•Nerve blocks. These are used to block pain signals from one nerve or group of nerves, such as one supplying a hand, arm, or leg.
•Spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia. These are injected into or near the spine to numb the lower part of the body. These types are commonly used for childbirth and prostate surgery.
General anesthesia is used for major surgery. It keeps you still and asleep during the procedure so you won’t feel any pain. It affects your whole body, including your brain and reflexes. You’ll need a breathing tube or mask to keep you breathing properly.

General anesthesia may be given through an IV line or inhaled through a mask. An anesthesia specialist (an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist) will carefully monitor your condition and control the flow of the medicines.

Because of its broad effect on your body, general anesthesia has a higher risk of complications than other types and is more likely to cause side effects.

Is anesthesia risky?
New drugs and better monitoring devices have made anesthesia safer than ever. It can cause side effects, but most of them are minor and temporary. For example, some of the most common side effects of general anesthesia are nausea, vomiting, headache, a sore throat, and bruising at the injection site. More serious complications are possible, but rare. These include an allergic reaction to the medicine, infection, and heart or lung problems.

Your risk will depend on a number of factors. These include your overall health, the type of anesthesia used, and how you respond to the medicines. Your doctor can help you understand your personal risks.

Could I wake up during surgery?
Some people worry that they will wake up while under general anesthesia. This problem is called anesthesia awareness. It is real, but it’s very rare and generally not traumatic.

•Experts estimate the risk is only about 1 in 1,000.
•Those who have anesthesia awareness usually only have a few vague memories. Very few feel pain, although this can happen.
Giving general anesthesia is a delicate balance. The doctor has to keep you asleep so you don’t feel pain, but not too deeply asleep, which could be bad for your brain. Doctors use brain function monitors to measure brain activity and assess the depth of anesthesia. This decreases the chance for brain injury. If you have concerns about anesthesia, discuss them with your doctor or anesthesiologist. Your doctor’s goal is to keep you safe and comfortable.

How can I reduce my risk of problems?
Many factors can affect your response to anesthesia. To plan your care, your doctor will need to know about:

•Any health problems you have
•All the medicines you take, including any herbs, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs
•Any food or drug allergies you have
•Any past reactions to anesthesia
•Whether you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs
Your safety depends on your answers. Be honest and thorough with your doctor.

It’s also important to follow any instructions your doctor gives you to prepare for anesthesia. For example, you may be told not to eat or drink anything for several hours before your procedure. If you were not able to do this, be sure to tell your doctor. It may be best to postpone your procedure.

Also, call your doctor if you get sick in the days before you are scheduled for surgery. Depending on the procedure and the type of anesthesia, your surgery may have to be put off until you feel better.

Halle Berry

Giving Your Eyelids a Lift

If the eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, the eyelids are the curtains. The eyelids are critical to vision... ...

Halle Berry

10 Tips for Using Eye Makeup Safely

If you wear eye cosmetics like mascara, eyeliner, or eye shadow, be careful. That brown mascara might make you... ...

5 Most Weird Beauty Treatments

Discover beauty using ‘unusual methods’! Listed below are the world’s five most weird beauty treatments.... ...

Halle Berry

The Best Ab Exercises to Tone Your Tummy

Dread doing endless sit-ups? You’re in luck. Experts say that classic sit-ups are not the best way to strengthen... ...

Halle Berry

8 Tips to Boost Your Fertility

Getting pregnant is a matter of perfect timing. The chances are in your favor that something is not medically wrong... ...

DASH: Designed for Every Body

DASH: Designed for Every Body

Diets are a lot like fashion. Depending on the season (and which celebrity is currently obsessed),...

Dietary Help for Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Dietary Help for Iron-Deficiency Anemia

If you have been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor has likely advised you to eat...

Simple Swaps! Make Healthy Food Even Healthier

Simple Swaps! Make Healthy Food Even Healthier

Looking for easy ways to boost the nutritional value in your food? ...

Does Advertising affect Eating Disorders?

Advertisements are all around us. What we see impacts us in some or the other way.

How to Stop Online Shopping Addiction

How to Stop Online Shopping Addiction

In the age of electronics, there are many trends that turn into addictions....

Grocery Shopping Tips for College Students

Grocery Shopping Tips for College Students

College life is the most enjoyable part in one’s life but it also inculcates sensibility and ...

Skin Care »

  • Global Hand Washing Day

    Global Hand Washing Day

    The primary practice aim was mobilize people and transform handwashing from being just an abstract idea to an automatic ...
  • Pre School Hand Hygiene

    Pre School Hand Hygiene

    Children are very notorious and they can literally give a deaf ear to their parents when the latter ...
  • Personality Type Diet Plan

    Personality Type Diet Plan

    The Personality Type Diet has been crafted by Robert Kushner. He is a known expert on ...
Easy Way to Stop Smoking
Easy Way to Stop Smoking

Medical practitioners all over the world have been constantly appealing ...

Self Hypnosis Techniques
Self Hypnosis Techniques

A self hypnosis session requires a strong suggestion, proper relaxation and delivering ...

How to Tighten Loose Skin
How to Tighten Loose Skin

Loose skin is a common problem that a lot of women as well . ...

Careers in Speech Pathology
Careers in Speech Pathology

With a rise in speech-related problems in people, speech pathologists are in great demand

8 SureFire Tips on How to Lose Inches Off Your Waist Fast

Want to know how to lose inches fast?

The 2 Types of Knee Braces With Side Stabilizer
The 2 Types of Knee Braces With Side Stabilizer

Do you have a problem with your knees?...

RiRi
Is It Easy To Quit Smoking Forever?

How do I dare to say that it is easy to quit smoking? ...

Kids and Martial Arts Can Be a Great Match
Kids and Martial Arts Can Be a Great Match

All parents want their children to grow up healthy and develop discipline...

Don't miss

Take It Easy: Preventing and Treating Shin Splints

What are shin splints? Typically, shin splints cause pain or tenderness along the shin bone from inflamed muscles,... ...

Fit to a Tee: The Basics of Golf

Think golf is just a slow-paced game for businessmen in plaid pants? Think again – it might be worth taking... ...

9 Ways to Exercise When You Don’t Have Time

You know exercise can help improve your health and lose weight. Yet, 1 in 4 adults doesn’t exercise, according... ...

What hair care tips must women follow?

Indian women love their tresses long, but pollution, stress and regular usage of hard and strong shampoos or other...
Work out your Back for a fit Body

Work out your Back for a fit Body

New research on fitness basics suggest that working out the back of the body is most important for having a strong...
Answering Your Top Three Period Questions

Answering Your Top Three Period Questions

One of the constants in a woman’s life is her period. The menstrual cycles or periods that recurs for the length...

How to prevent Body Odour?

Each and every inch of human body has a dissimilar smell (yes, the bad one); occasionally the odour is so idiosyncratic...
What is Breast Reconstructive Surgery?

What is Breast Reconstructive Surgery?

Breast reconstructive surgery has arrived as a significant body surgery development for women who have been undergoing...

Managing Your Toddler’s Weight

Your friends tell you not to worry about your toddler’s chubby cheeks and pudgy arms. “It’s just...