Basic facts about anaesthesia
May 10 2018 11:04 PM
Dr Manju Bobby Kurien

By Dr Manju Bobby Kurien

Anaesthesia is a routine part of surgery, to keep you safe and comfortable before, during and after any surgical procedure. A patient under the effects of anaesthetic drugs is referred to as being anaesthetised. Anaesthesia enables the painless performance of medical procedures that would cause severe or intolerable pain to an unanaesthetised patient.

What is Anaesthesia?
Anaesthesia is the field of medicine that prevents pain and alleviates stress of patients during any surgical procedure. Nowadays the practice of anaesthesia has extended its role in emergency, intensive care and pain medicine units.
Inducing Sedation (sleep), unconsciousness, immobility, analgesia (lack of pain) and amnesia (lack of memory) with the help anaesthetic drugs are the key anaesthesia components.

Different types of anaesthesia technique?
* Sedation or monitored anaesthesia care
* Local anaesthesia
* General anaesthesia
* Regional anaesthesia 

What is monitored anaesthesia care?
A monitored anaesthesia care (MAC) is a planned procedure during which the patient undergoes local anaesthesia either applied over skin or injected local area of surgery, together with sleep medicines and pain medicines. Patient is able to talk and respond.

What is conscious/moderate sedation and deep sedation?
Conscious sedation is a combination of medicines to help you relax (a sedative) and to block pain (an anaesthetic or analgesic) during a medical or dental procedure. You will probably stay awake or sleep but may be able to speak. Patients with deep sedation will be in deep sleep and may require assistance for breathing. Used for bronchoscopy, endoscopy, closed correction of bone fracture.

Local anaesthesia?
By locally applying (rubbing over skin) or injecting the drug to a specific area, where that area is made numb by the anaesthetic drug injected.

What is general anaesthesia?
General anaesthesia makes you unconscious, unaware of what is happening around you and relieves pain during the surgery. It often causes you to forget the surgery and the time immediately following the surgery. Many surgeries like laparoscopic surgeries, head and neck surgeries, paediatric surgeries is done under general anaesthesia. General anaesthetics are either delivered intravenously or breathed in as a gas.

What is regional anaesthesia and different types of regional anaesthesia procedures?
Regional anaesthesia techniques are used to numb a certain part of the body during the surgery. During the entire procedure patient will be awake and can communicate their concerns to the surgical team. To allay the anxiety of the procedure anti-anxiety, sedative medications are also given based on individual variations.
l Spinal anaesthesia – used for lower abdominal, pelvic, rectal or lower extremity surgery. This type of anaesthetic involves injecting a single dose of the anaesthetic directly into the spinal fluid in the lower back, causing numbness in the lower body.
l Epidural anaesthesia – commonly used for surgery of the lower limbs, as well as during labour and childbirth. Medicine is injected through a thin catheter that has been placed into the space that is near the spinal cord and nerves. This causes numbness in the lower body.
l Peripheral nerve blocks – By injecting a local anaesthetic close to the major nerves that go to a particular part of the body, such as face, arm, leg or foot.

What do anaesthesiologists do?
Anaesthesiologists carefully monitor patients throughout surgery using electronic devices that display vital signs and continuously measure parameters like blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, temperature, heart function and respiratory patterns as well as make informed medical judgments to protect you. By taking into consideration any variation in these signs, drugs are administered at regular intervals to keep the patient comfortable throughout and post-operative recovery time.
Anaesthesia is also provided for non-surgical procedures such as endoscopy and various cardiac interventions, as well as during labour and delivery and in pain clinics.
In conclusion, anaesthesia is the part of medicine that alleviates pain, ensures stress free surgical experience and considers individual satisfaction and safety as the most important priority achieved through constant vigilance.

*Dr Manju Bobby Kurien, MBBS, MD (Anaesthesiology), Specialist Anaesthesiologist, Aster Hospital, Doha, Phone: 44440499

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