The Use of Medicine to Prevent Pain During Surgery
It’s typical to have questions or concerns about anesthesia as you prepare for your surgery. The thought of being unconscious, even if temporary, can be frightening.
However, understanding the basics about what anesthesia is, and how it works may help answer your questions and reduce some of your anxieties.
Is essence, anesthesia is the use of medicine to prevent the feeling of pain or sensation. This prevention of pain or sensation is desired during surgery or other procedures that might be painful (such as getting stitches or having a wart removed). Often given as an injection, you can also receive anesthesia through inhaled gases or vapors. When different types of anesthesia are administered, the nervous system is affected in in various ways by blocking the nerve impulses that cause pain.
Griffin Hospital's, highly trained professionals use a wide variety of safe, modern medications. Reliable monitoring technologies are used by your anesthesiologist to ensure your continued safety, before and during your surgery. An anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in giving and managing anesthetics, the common name for the medications that numb an area of the body or help you fall and stay asleep during your procedure.
Your Griffin Hospital anesthesiologist will also:
- Make and keep you as comfortable as possible before, during, and following surgery
- Monitor your major bodily functions (such as breathing, heart rate and rhythm, body temperature, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels) during surgery
- Address any problems that might arise during surgery
- Manage any pain you may have following your procedure
In addition to your Anesthesiologist, your team will typically include a specially trained certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), resident physician, or student nurse anesthetist, who work with the anesthesiologist and surgeon, and may assist in giving you anesthesia.
For more information regarding anesthesia, visit Integrated Anesthesia Associates.
Our operating room and recovery room are staffed by board-certified and board-eligible physician anesthesiologists. The anesthesia care team also includes certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) who work under the medical direction of the physician anesthesiologists.
The types available are:
- General anesthesia provides loss of consciousness.
- Regional anesthesia involves the injection of a local anesthetic to provide numbness, loss of pain or loss of sensation to a large region of the body. Regional anesthetic techniques include spinal blocks, epidural blocks, and arm and leg blocks. During regional anesthesia, medications can be given to make you drowsy and blur your memory.
Your anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits associated with each anesthetic option, as well as any potential complications or side effects they may cause. Some patients may experience nausea or vomiting. Medications to treat nausea and vomiting are available if needed.
The amount of discomfort experienced varies according to the procedure and the individual. It's normal to experience some tolerable pain or discomfort. Our staff will ask you to assess your pain using a scale from 0-10. Your doctors and nurses can provide pain relief medications, if needed.
Before your surgery, an anesthesiologist will meet with you to review your medical history, laboratory test results, allergies, and current medications. Based on this information, your anesthesiologist will then discuss your options with you and together you will decide which type of anesthesia is best suited for you. Your anesthesiologist can also answer any further questions you may have.
After meeting with the anesthesiologist, you will meet your surgical nurses. Intravenous (IV) fluids will be started and pre-operative medications may be given.
Once in the operating room, monitoring devices will be attached such as a blood pressure cuff and ECG.
At this point, you will be ready for anesthesia.
Your anesthesiologist is responsible for your comfort and safety before, during, and immediately after your surgical procedure. In the operating room, your anesthesiologist will manage vital functions, including heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing. The anesthesiologist is also responsible for fluid and blood replacement when necessary.