Anesthesia is a medical treatment that prevents patients from feeling pain during surgery. It allows people to have procedures that lead to healthier and longer lives. To produce anesthesia, doctors use drugs called anesthetics. Scientists have developed a collection of anesthetic drugs with different effects. These drugs include general, regional, and local anesthetics. General anesthetics put patients to sleep during the procedure. Local and regional anesthetics just numb part of the body and allow patients to remain awake during the procedure. Depending on the type of pain relief needed, doctors deliver anesthetics by injection, inhalation, topical lotion, spray, eye drops, or skin patch
General anesthesia affects the whole body, making patients unconscious and unable to move. Surgeons use it when they operate on internal organs and for other invasive or time-consuming procedures such as back surgery. Without general anesthesia, many major, life-saving procedures would not be possible, including open-heart surgery, brain surgery, and organ transplants. Doctors provide general anesthetics either directly into the bloodstream (intravenously) or as an inhaled gas.
General anesthesia delivered intravenously will act quickly and disappear rapidly from the body. This allows patients to go home sooner after surgery. Inhaled anesthetics may take longer to wear off. General anesthetics typically are very safe. But they can pose risks for some patients, such as the elderly or people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also, side effects may linger for several days in some patients, especially the elderly and children.
In that case we take care of the patients in our hospital within proper observation. Serious side effects—such as dangerously low blood pressure—are much less common than they once were. Still, as with any medical procedure, some risks exist. To minimize these risks, specialized doctors called anesthesiologists carefully monitor unconscious patients and can adjust the amount of anesthetic they receive.
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