Anesthesia is defined as the loss of feeling or consciousness. During your surgery, the anesthesiologist will provide the anesthesia and constantly monitor your medical condition. Your anesthesiologist will be assigned by your surgeon’s office. He/she will personally interview you and examine you the day of surgery.
With general anesthesia, you will be unconscious throughout the entire operation. You will receive an intravenous injection that produces unconsciousness within a few seconds, followed by an anesthetic gas that will maintain the anesthesia until the end of the surgery. During surgery you may have a tube placed in your throat to deliver inhaled anesthesia. This tube may cause you to have a sore throat or hoarse voice for a few days after surgery.
The main purposes of anesthesia are to:
- Provide pain relief
- Inhibit normal body refl exes to make the surgery safe and easier to perform
- Relax the muscles of the body
- Produce unconsciousness
- Block the memory of the procedure (amnesia)
During surgery, the anesthesiologist constantly monitors your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. At the conclusion of the surgery, the anesthesiologist slowly reduces the amount of anesthesia so that you awaken soon after your operation is finished.
Because general anesthesia affects the central nervous system, patients may feel drowsy, weak or tired for several days. Most side effects disappear as the anesthetic wears off. If you have side effects that persist or cause problems, notify your nurse or physician.
Regional anesthesia, such as spinal and epidural, is used on occasion for post-surgery pain control. Patients still require general anesthesia for the surgery. A small area of skin is numbed by a local anesthetic injection, and a needle is placed between the bones of the lower back where the anesthetic is injected. With this technique, medication is delivered in the spinal area of the lower back — numbing the nerves that carry sensation and movement messages from the brain to the lower part of the body.