What is Anaesthesia?

The word ‘anaesthesia’ means ‘without feeling pain’. It refers to a variety of methods used to make your operation painless.

What is an Anesthesiologist?

An anesthesiologists is a medical doctor who after his M.B.B.S. completes a 3 years of specialized education in anesthesia (M.D. Anaesthesia). The Anaesthesiologist is a specialised physician who not only administers anaesthesia but also provides intensive care including control over the patient’s vital functions (heart rate, B.P, breathing, oxygenation, temperature etc) during the surgery and at the end of surgery reverses the anaesthesia to make the patient awake and conscious and also makes him pain free.

What are different types of anaesthesia?

Anesthesia can be of 2 types-

  • general (a drug-induced deep sleep)
  • regional (part of the body is frozen, but the patient may remain awake)

What is a General Anesthesia?

A general anesthetic is a deep sleep that is caused by the administration of anesthetic medications and is reversible. In addition to inducing a deep sleep, the anesthesiologist might often administer additional specific medications that alter the ability of the muscles to move, or the ability of the body to respond to painful incisions. During a general anesthesia, the patient’s breathing and cardiac status remain paramount, and is controlled by the anesthesiologist. Although complicated, with knowledge and experience, anesthesia conducted to the standards that we demand is an extremely safe practice.

How is general anaesthesia given?

By pricking a needle in the vein, glucose (drip) is started. Then the drugs (injections) are given through that drip. In small children or in whom it is difficult to find a vein, anaesthesia can be given by asking the patient to inhale the anaesthesia agents with oxygen by keeping a mask over patient’s face.

What is a Regional Anesthesia?

A regional anesthetic is when part of the body is ‘numb’ by the special administration of a local anesthetic. In this type of anaesthesia, a particular part of your body (arm, leg, hand, foot etc) is made numb so that the surgeon can operate on it without you feeling pain. It is usually given as an injection over the nerves that supply that part of the body. You may be awake but will not feel any pain. These effects are temporary and will wear off after the surgery

Do I need to fast before anaesthesia?

Fasting is necessary, as otherwise the food in the stomach could get into your windpipe and lungs while you are unconscious. This can be very dangerous as it causes blockage and inflammation of the lung passages.

You MUST NOT take any solid food for at least 6 hours before your operation. Medicines ordered by your anaesthetist can be taken with a sip of water just before the operation.

What is Pre-Anaesthesia Check up (PAC)?

Preanaesthetic Checkup is the medical check up and certain laboratory investigations done by the anaesthesiologist before the operation to assess the physical status and any other medical problems/ diseases the patient might be suffering from.

Every patient MUST undergo PAC. This is to ensure safety of the patient. It provides an opportunity to detect and treat the patient’s other medical diseases, the patient might be suffering from and to make the patient as fit as possible before the operation so that the risk involved in the operation can be minimized.

What is the patient’s role in PAC?

Answer all the questions truthfully to the anaesthesiologist.

  • Inform about all other illness/ allergies that you might have/had, even if you feel it is unrelated to your present surgical problem e.g. Diabetes, High B.P., Asthma, cough, cold etc.
  • Inform about any kind of medications you are taking.
  • Inform about previous history of operation & the outcome of anaesthesia.
  • Inform about any kind habbits like smoking, tobacco chewing, drinking liquor etc.

How much is the risk of anaesthesia?

Even in otherwise healthy patient the risk of anaesthesia is there – although minimal. This because the drugs used for giving anaesthesia are potentially hazardous & do have some side effects. Moreover the human body may react differently to different drugs or procedures inspite of using them in optimal dosage. Therefore there is always some inherent risk involved in anaesthesia despite the best precautions, care, and expertise of the anaesthesiologist.

In the patients who are having other medical/surgical problem, the risk is more depending upon their physical status. The risk is also more during emergency operations as the anaesthesiologist may not have much time to correct/treat other associated medical problems the patient might be suffering from. The risk of anaesthesia remains same even when the operation is minor.

Will I have pain when I come out of anaesthesia?

Your anaesthesiologists will give you medicines so that you do not have pain after the operation and make you comfortable and pain free. In case of any discomfort, please inform the doctor/nurses on duty.