The prospect of surgery can be frightening for any number of reasons. There are always risks, and the idea of being removed from the driver’s seat of your own body can be terrifying by itself. A 2007 study discovered that 30% of patients were more anxious about general anesthesia than the procedure. Fortunately, understanding the realities of general anesthesia can help to alleviate this stress.
Approximately 60,000 people are put under general anesthesia every day in the US. General anesthesia is a common practice that your anesthesiologist has spent their entire career perfecting to ensure your safety and comfort. The fatality rate as a result of general anesthesia is about one-hundredth of a percent. An infinitesimally small number of people have any negative reaction to general anesthesia, with the vast majority simply losing consciousness for the duration of the procedure.
Why Is General Anesthesia Necessary?
For your comfort and safety, general anesthesia is necessary for most major operations. The blend of medications used by your anesthesiologist doesn’t just block your pain receptors. It also prevents you from moving while your surgeon is at work. It prevents pain and involuntary movement. So, general anesthesia allows your surgeon to work on sensitive tissues with minimal risk.
How Do You Maximize the Safety of General Anesthesia?
When it comes to surgery, it is always best to be completely honest with your surgeon. They should be aware of any underlying medical conditions, including sleep apnea. They should also be mindful of any medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter medications. Even aspirin, which has blood-thinning properties, can cause serious complications during surgery. Be sure to answer all of your surgeon’s questions without reservation. That way, they will be able to make informed decisions on your behalf and protect your safety.
What Is It Like for the Patient?
Most patients who have experienced general anesthesia agree that the entire procedure is over before you’ve even realized you have lost consciousness. The cocktail of drugs responsible for anesthesia work in a pre-determined order, and amnesia is the first effect. This is one of the reasons why your medical team will continue to talk to you even after the drug is administered.
You may be able to hold a conversation for a few moments or count down from ten with your anesthesiologist. Still, eventually, your language will start to reflect the loss of memory. You may repeat sentences or numbers, which is one of the first indications that the anesthesia is working properly. In most cases, you won’t even remember talking to them after the drugs were initially injected.
If all goes to plan, as it does in the vast majority of cases, then you will have no memory of the procedure at all. You will wake up in recovery. When you do, don’t try to stand up or talk right away. You may feel some nausea or dryness. That is perfectly normal. Just lay back and allow yourself to pull out of the anesthesia at your own pace slowly. In some cases, you may lose consciousness for short periods, as you wake up in stages.
The Bottom Line with General Anesthesia
All medical procedures are accompanied by risk. However, finding a certified surgeon that you know you can trust will make all the difference. At Gabbay Plastic Surgery, Dr. Joubin Gabbay specializes in creating meaningful connections with patients. The goal: to ensure their safety and comfort while under his care. If you have reservations regarding general anesthesia, then share your concerns with the Gabbay Plastic Surgery team. They will be more than happy to put your mind at ease.