Anesthesia and Sedation

Anesthesia is a state of temporary induced relief from pain (analgesia), muscle relaxation (paralysis), loss of memory(amnesia) and unconsciousness. This is used in the field of medicine / surgery/ dentistry. Sedation is a type of anesthesia to create a state of calm and sleep, without the loss of consciousness.

Anesthesia can be classified as General anesthesia, local anesthesia and Regional anesthesia.

  • General Anesthesia results in total loss of sensation and state of unconsciousness.
  • Local anesthesia numbs a small part of the body for minor procedures. The patient remains conscious.
  • Regional anesthesia blocks pain to larger part of the body. The patient again remains conscious. Eg: peripheral nerve block and spinal/epidural block.

Your condition will be usually accessed by the anesthesiologist prior to any surgery. This is called as PAC (pre-anesthesia counselling). You can also be asked to fill a questionnaire regarding your previous anesthesia experience. General information regarding your medical conditions, allergies, present medications (if any) will be asked. Usually a visit to the hospital a day or two before the surgery is needed.

Prior to General anesthesia, you refrain from eating from the midnight of day of surgery. If the surgery is scheduled late in the day, a light breakfast is recommended. A minimum of 6 hours before surgery, you will be empty on stomach.

Regarding your medications prior to surgery, your doctor or anesthesiologist is to be consulted. Certain medications could be asked to be stopped while some may be continued. Do not ignore and follow due instructions as given by your doctor.

After surgery, you will be taken to PACU (post anesthesia care unit) or recovery room, where the anesthetist and surgeon monitor your basic vitals and your recovery from anesthesia very closely. You might be held here for 30-40 mins after which you will be shifted to your ward.

Certain surgeries like cardiac/ high risk surgeries, patient might be shifted to ICU (intensive care unit) from the PACU or CCU (Cardiac Care Unit). In infants or babies, the usually shift to NICU (Neonatal ICU) for progressive continued monitoring and care.

After the anesthesia, you will feel drowsy. The amount of pain post anesthesia will depend on the kind of surgery and the pain management continuously through surgery. Dry throat, pain/discomfort in throat or on swallowing is usually common. Nausea and vomiting are sometimes experienced by the patient and they are usually well taken care off by the nurses and doctors.

Last updated on 11 December, 2018.

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