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General anesthesia is a combination of medications that induce unconsciousness (a deep, sleep-like state) for an extended period of time. This type of anesthesia is often used before most surgeries and other medical procedures because it prevents you from feeling any pain while a doctor performs surgery.
Depending on the type procedure you are having, your doctor and his team may or may not recommend general anesthesia.The following FAQ’s will help you be at ease for your next procedure before undergoing general anesthesia:
Before surgery, your anesthesiologist will ask you about the medications you are currently taking, allergies you have and any past experiences you’ve had with anesthesia.
You will need to avoid solid foods for several hours before going under anesthesia, but you can usually drink clear fluids. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions about eating and drinking before your procedure very carefully to prevent any problems. Your doctor may also ask you to avoid taking certain medications.
Your anesthesiologist will most likely use an intravenous line (IV) in your arm to deliver the medication. However, you may also be given gas to inhale from a mask. Children often prefer a mask over other options.
Depending on the procedure, your anesthesiologist might insert a tube in your mouth down your windpipe while you sleep. This tube will help you get enough oxygen during the procedure and protects your lungs from fluids, such as stomach fluids. While you are asleep, the anesthesiologist will continuously monitor you and adjust the medication, breathing, temperature and blood pressure as needed throughout the procedure.
When your surgery is finished, the anesthesiologist will reverse the medication to allow your body to wake up naturally. You will most likely feel a bit groggy when you first wake as the anesthesia begins to wear off.
You may experience common side effects after waking up including:
The side effects you have often depend on your health status and the type of surgery you are having. If you have questions or concerns about going under general anesthesia, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider and anesthesiologist to resolve these before surgery.
“General Anesthesia.” Mayo Clinic.
“General Anesthesia.” American Society of Anesthesiologists.
“Types of Anesthesia and Your Anesthesiologist.” Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.