Anaesthesia, or anaesthesia traditionally meant the condition of having sensation (including the feeling of pain) blocked or temporarily taken away.
Q1. Why do I need an anaesthetic?
Ans. Anaesthesia helps so that you:
Won't feel pain
Will be asleep (with general anaesthetic)
Will be sedated (with a regional anaesthetic)
Won't move during surgery, making it easier for the surgeon to operate
Won't remember the operation (you may remember some things if you do not have a general anaesthetic)
Q2. Is anaesthesia really safe?
Ans: Modern anaesthesia has become a very safe procedure. It is, however, not entirely without some risk and one should not have an operation under anaesthetic unless it is really necessary. The main reasons for the ever-improving safety record are the expertise of your anaesthetist, the continually improving “cleaner” anaesthetics drugs, and the huge technological strides made in electronic devices used to measure your body’s response – the monitors. The risks associated with anaesthesia are that in addition to affecting the nervous system, anaesthetic drugs also affect other organ systems such as the heart.
Q3. What are the risks?
Ans: Anaesthesia is very safe; major complications are rare. The type of complications depends on whether you are having local, regional or general anaesthesia. The risk of death from general anaesthesia is about 1 in 10,000 anaesthetics.
Q4. What is the role of an anaesthesiologist?
Ans: An anaesthesiologist is a specially trained doctor who gives safe and effective anaesthesia. The anaesthetic is planned just for you, your health and your planned operation. The doctors will stay with you during the operation to make sure that the anaesthetic is going as planned, and that you are not having pain. Your heart, lungs and other vital organs will be watched very closely.
Q5. What are the different types of anaesthesia?
Ans: General anaesthesia: With general anaesthesia, you are given drugs that put you to sleep, give you pain relief and make your muscles relax. A breathing tube may be put into your windpipe to help you breathe while you are asleep. Major complications are rare. Some people have mild side effects after a general anaesthetic. These include sore throat, muscle aches, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes it is hard to remember what happened just before and just after surgery. These side effects should go away within 48 hours.
Regional anaesthesia (spinal, epidural, nerve blocks): Regional anaesthesia (nerve block) involves injecting local anaesthetic (freezing or numbing) near a nerve, a group of nerves or the spinal cord. Your anaesthesiologist will decide where to inject local anaesthetic to best anaesthetize (freeze or numb) the area where you are having surgery.
Local anaesthesia :Local anaesthesia involves the freezing or numbing of the surgical site.
Q6. How can I lower the risks that apply to me?
Ans: There are certain things that you can do to significantly decrease your risk of developing serious complications from anaesthesia and surgery:
If you smoke, stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of pneumonia and other breathing complications after surgery. The longer you stop smoking, the better.
If you are obese, lose weight. The risk of complications is significantly greater for obese patients.
Take your medications as instructed.
Q7. Why can't I eat before surgery?
Ans: Fasting before surgery helps to make sure your stomach is empty, which decreases the chance of vomiting. If you vomit, it can get into your lungs, causing serious illness or death. Your surgery may be cancelled or delayed if you break your fast for anything other than prescribed medications.
Q8. What type of anaesthetic will I need?
Ans: This decision is made between your anaesthetist, your surgeon and yourself. Your health or
the nature of your surgery may decide the kind of anaesthetic you will have.
Q9.What should I know about the first 24 hours after my operation?
Ans: You must not drive yourself home. If you become very ill at home, please return to the emergency department at CMC, or go to your local hospital. Let the doctor know you have just had surgery.
In the 24 hours following your operation, do not:
Make any major decisions
Operate any type of vehicle or machinery
Q10. What will happen to me on the day of my operation?
Ans: On the day of your surgery, an anaesthesiologist will speak with you just before your operation. Your health history, medications and allergies will be reviewed. You'll be able to ask any questions you have about the aesthetic. If everything is fine, you will then go to the operating room.
In the operating room you will move to the operating room table. There will be nurses and doctors in the room. Our OR team will introduce themselves an review information about your procedure. This is called "The surgical safety checklist."
Your blood pressure and pulse will be measured. You will be given oxygen and medication to help you relax. You will then go to sleep and will be monitored very closely during your surgery.
After surgery you will go to the post aesthetic care unit (PACU, otherwise known as the recovery room), where your anaesthesiologist is still responsible for supervising your care. A nurse trained in recovery room care will be there for your needs. You'll have an oxygen mask on your face and your blood pressure and pulse will be closely watched. The nurse will give you pain medication.
When you wake up, and your pain is well controlled, you will be ready to leave this area. You will be moved to your In-patient Unit, the Surgical Short Stay Unit, or prepare to return home through the ambulatory recovery room.