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General Anesthesia

 

A General Anesthetic is a state of unconsciousness in which you are completely unaware of pain or discomfort.

Commonly a relaxing medication is given prior to being taken to the OR.  This medication may cause some amnesia.  Even though you may be awake and talking it is possible that you will have no, or very little, memory of the actual operating room.

General Anesthesia is generally induced by the administration of medications thorough an intravenous line which will be placed in one of the veins in your arm.  Occasionally an inhalation induction is utilized which involves breathing some anesthesia gases through a face mask and is most commonly used in children.

After you are asleep, generally a breathing tube will be placed in your mouth to assure proper ventilation and allow for the administration of anesthesia gases which you may be breathing throughout the procedure.  Additionally other medications including various narcotics will be administered through your IV.  These medications keep you asleep and prevent you from feeling any pain or discomfort.

At the conclusion of your surgery, your anesthesiologist will wake you from the anesthetic.  Your breathing tube will be removed as you are waking, so you should not be aware of it.  You will then be moved to the PACU, or Post Anesthesia Care Unit, which is commonly called the “recovery room”.  This will most likely be the first thing you remember after your surgery.

The most common side effects of General Anesthesia are a sore throat from the breathing tube and nausea.  Generally the sore throat is self limiting and not a problem.  We realize that the possibility of nausea is very concerning for most of our patients.  Newer General Anesthetics are less likely to cause nausea than older agents and newer anti-nausea medications, which are at our disposal, are much more effective.  BVA anesthesiologists are skilled at techniques at preventing and treating nausea.  Please discuss any prior nausea problems with your anesthesiologist and we will do everything within our power to prevent and make your experience as pleasant as possible.

While there is the risk of “waking up” under anesthesia the incidence of recall under anesthesia is quite rare, but it does occur. Every effort is made to prevent this. It is most likely to occur during cardiac surgery, C-sections and very ill patients.

Anesthesia is much safer today than it was in the past with the advent of better patient monitors and anesthetic agents. The risk of more serious complications is affected by your age, weight, body habitus, associated diseases, habits (smoking, drinking, and drugs), type and duration of surgery.



Disclaimer

IMPORTANT - This website is intended to provide an introduction to information as it relates to the practice of anesthesiology and is not intended to be construed as medical or anesthesia advice for your or any other particular situation. For additional information please Click Here.