What is General Anesthesia?
Used to put patients into a deep sleep- have someone drive you home!
General anesthesia is an important tool for everything from major surgeries to severe dental procedures. While there are risks associated with general anesthesia, it is still used by almost 22 million people a year in the U.S.
General anesthesia is a way to render a patient unconscious so that a surgical procedure can be carried out without the recipient feeling pain. Before the advent of modern anesthesia, surgeries were extremely painful for those requiring them, leading to quick procedures that may not take care of everything properly. This ended up causing a relatively high mortality rate either from patients developing infections or improper surgical techniques. Today, general anesthesia helps make procedures safer and more effective.
Effects of General Anesthesia
A general anesthetic is given to surgery patients and some dental patients to induce an unconscious state, making procedures painless and much easier for the surgeon or dentist to carry out. These effects can last from half an hour to half a day or more.
Lingering effects can last for several hours afterwards and can include short-term memory loss and drowsiness. Because of these possible after-effects, individuals who undergo a procedure that includes the use of a general anesthetic should not drive home afterwards. Though relatively rare with modern anesthetic drugs, nausea and vomiting can occur after you wake up. This is why you will be required to refrain from eating for several hours before a surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate for General Anesthesia?
One of the biggest risks for those going under general anesthesia is the chance that the patient may be allergic to one or more of the chemicals used during the process. Several different drugs are administered when you are put under general anesthesia, and an allergic reaction to one of them can be extremely dangerous even with doctors surrounding you. It is important to talk with your dentist or surgeon about any existing allergies you might have. A history of allergic reactions means there is a greater chance you might be allergic to one of the medications administered during the general anesthesia process.
Those who are elderly or ill may not be suitable candidates for general anesthesia because it requires a delicate balance by the anesthesiologist to keep you sedated but not so much that your body starts shutting down. Weaker patients may need to take some time to build up their strength before a procedure requiring general anesthesia.