Any time you go “under the knife,” anesthesia is involved. There are many rumors that float around anesthetics and their effects. So, what is truth and what is fiction? What can anesthetics do to a person? What happens to a person under anesthesia? It is important to consult your physician during your preoperative appointments to air out all of your concerns and ask all the questions burning in your mind.
What Is Anesthesia?
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, anesthesia is a medical treatment that prevents patients from feeling pain during surgery. There are different levels of anesthesia that include general, regional, and local anesthetics. You should ask your doctor which one will be used on you and why they have picked that particular anesthetic.
General anesthesia, according to the NIGMS, is a medically induced coma that prevents the patient from moving. It essentially makes them unconscious. Regional anesthetics, according to Wake Forest Hospital, include peripheral nerve blockers, epidurals, spinals, and abdominal wall blocks. Local anesthetics are used to numb certain parts of the body either topically, by injection, or as an inhalant.
According to News Medical, local anesthesia “as a mechanism of action, inhibits the nerves in question from passing their signals to the central nervous system.” There are two classifications of local anesthetics: amide and ester. According to News Medical, an amide is a local anesthetic that can be metabolized, or broken up, by enzymes that are found in the liver. Ester local anesthetics are metabolized by plasma enzymes known as pseudocholinesterases in a process called hydrolysis.
What Should I Ask My Doctor?
It is important to have a one on one conversation with your doctor prior to your procedure. A surgical procedure is a huge deal and no question is insignificant. You should ask your doctor if they double book procedures. Many surgeons have been scrutinized lately for double booking as it can cause the doctor to perform a procedure ineffectively and cause one more complications. It may be better to work with a doctor that is going to make your case a priority during your procedure and recovery. It is also important to ask your doctor if they will see you after your procedure. They can help you after your recovery and make sure your healing is coming along successfully. Lastly, it is important to ask your doctor what their success rate is with the surgical procedure and how often they have performed it. There is a higher chance for a success rate when a doctor specializes in that procedure and has perfected their skill.
What Happens When I Am Under Local Anesthesia?
It is important to know that each patient is different and has different needs. Therefore, the plan of action for your procedure will be different from someone else’s. Local anesthesia is typically applied, injected or inhaled into the specific area of the body that your procedure is being performed. According to Medical News Today, local anesthesia is also used a sedation tool to calm and soothe patients during their procedure. Local anesthesia has a very short window of action.
What Are the Risks and Complications?
Because the patient is awake and doesn’t need to be put under, local anesthesia is extremely safe for most patients. But, as stated earlier, each patient is different. According to Medical News Today, local anesthesia is even safer than general anesthesia for minor procedures. With local anesthesia, patients can also avoid the nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness associated with general anesthesia.
When a person is administered a local anesthetic, they may experience some tingling effects. In some cases, patients might encounter slight bruising if they are administered local anesthesia topically or by injection. It is very important that patients do as little as possible until their anesthetic has worn off because they are unable to feel pain. They could risk injuring themselves without knowing it.
What Is the Recovery Process Like?
Generally speaking the recovery process for local anesthesia is very quick. Complications are very rare and based on a patient by patient case. According to the Daily Press, a patient’s recovery process all depends on the patient’s health. As mentioned before, a local anesthetic is meant for a short procedure and has a short window of a few hours. It is not meant to last for long periods of time.