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Anesthesia: No pain, no worries

Before different surgeries and medical procedures, it is common to be administered general anesthesia. This medicine basically puts patients to sleep so that all feeling is gone so that they will not feel pain.

The brain is prevented from processing pain, and post-surgery they won't even remember what happened. This phenomena is because the nerve signals to their brain and body have been interrupted by the general anesthesia. Therefore, patients are not supposed to eat or drink eight hours before surgery since their muscles will relax and the digestive process could be stalled.

A few common scenarios could occur that will decide if anesthesia will be given typically. Most of the time, anesthesia is given when a surgery will take place for a few hours or more. If a major organ is involved such as the heart of brain, it will be given. If their breathing will be affected, anesthesia will be given.

Sometimes a doctor may ask a patient about their pain tolerance or about how comfortable they will feel and may recommend or suggest that in order to relax they be given general anesthesia.

There are possible side effects, but nothing major. The patient might wake up tired or groggy. They might have a sore throat or dry mouth. Their voice might be hoarse, and some people do vomit.

Anesthesia is considered safe for most people, but complications can arise for those who are older, obese, have high blood pressure, have obstructive sleep apnea, have epilepsy or diabetes or if they are smoker. Patients will be given a health screening before surgery to make sure that they will not be prone to any possible side effects.

An anesthesiologist is a health professional who specializes in giving patients anesthesia before, during and after the surgery. They continuously check bodily functions during the medical procedure.

The anesthesiologist administers the medicine through an IV line through a vein in either the patient's arm or hand. They might also give them a gas mask for breathing. Soon, the patient will fall asleep. Now that they are asleep, the doctor will put a tube through the mouth that goes into the windpipe. Medicine is given to relax the throat muscles and the tube makes sure that they are getting enough oxygen during the procedure.

As the surgery continues, the anesthesiologist will be close by to regularly check blood pressure, temperature, breathing, fluid levels and heart rate. In doing so, any adjustments can be made as needed.

It is important that the patient remain asleep and pain free. Once the surgery is completed, the doctor and anesthesiologist will discontinue the medications and wait for the patient to slowly wake up. Presto, the magic of anesthesia made them pain free.

Megan Johnson McCullough holds a master's degree in physical education and health science, is a candidate for her doctorate, is a professional natural bodybuilder and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine master trainer.


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