Anesthesia is the controlling of pain that is done during surgical procedures. The medicine used is known as anesthetics. Medical anesthesia is important in ensuring that surgical procedures are carried out painlessly and even at times without the patient being conscious. There are different types of anesthesia classified according to the effects they have on the body:
· Local anesthesia – when applied this numbs a small part of the body. It’s applied on the part that is to be operated on and is mainly used in minor procedures. It’s applied directly at the surgical area.
· Regional anesthesia – this type blocks pain in a large part of the body. It may be a peripheral never blocker or epidural. Peripheral nerve blocks are applied around a specific group of nerves. This could be on the face, feet or arms. An epidural on the other hand is applied near the spinal cord to block pain from the region of the body to be operated on.
· General anesthesia – this is given intravenously or by inhalation. It affects the brain and the entire body. The person becomes unconscious and numb hence no pain is felt. It also hypnotizes the patient so they will not remember anything when they wake up.
Of the three types of anesthesia which can you expect to be applied on you? This will depend on several factors. The first is the type of surgery. Minor procedures are often done using local anesthesia whereas major surgeries require general anesthesia. Your state of health will also matter. Be sure to inform the doctor of any heart disease, diabetes or any other condition you suffer from. Allergies to some anesthetic products should also be reported as it will determine the type that will be used.
Many people are concerned about the risks of anesthesia. It should be noted that major side effects are rare but some mild ones may occur. These include headaches after spinal anesthesia, vomiting and sore throat after general anesthesia. Serious effects that may occur are heart problems, pneumonia and others. The degree of the risks will depend on the patient’s state of health, age and the dosage given.