If you’re scheduled to undergo any type of surgery in the near future, you might wonder about the anesthesia process. How does it work, what will you feel like, does it hurt? These are a few of the most commonly asked questions about this procedure, and there’s a lot you don’t know. Before your surgery, here’s what you should know about your anesthesia.
It’s Not All The Same
Not all anesthesia is made the same. Some are local, some are regional, and some is neuraxial. General anesthesia is the kind that puts you under while your surgery is completed. Local simply means it’s applied to a certain area of your body so that area alone is numb and feels no pain. It’s commonly used if you get your wisdom teeth removed or go through another very similar process.
Regional is more widespread, but you’re still awake while it’s happening. It does work to numb a part of your body, but it’s a much larger part of your body. For example, if you’re having surgery on your hand, the doctor might choose to numb your entire arm but no other part of your body.
Neuraxial anesthesia is a type of anesthesia that simply relaxes you and removes the pain. If you give birth and want to have an epidural, it’s a neuraxial anesthesia. You can still feel your body, but you can’t easily move it because the sensation in your body is temporarily blocked.
General Anesthesia and Going Under
If you need major surgery, you might need to go under for the duration. This type of anesthesia is typically given by way of intravenous drugs. They’re put into your veins, and you almost immediately fall asleep. You’ll stay asleep for the entire surgery, and you won’t feel anything. It takes a while to wake from this type of anesthesia, and side effects like dizziness and vomiting are common in some patients.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you have questions, ask them. If you have concerns, voice them. If you want to try something different, let your doctor know. If you have allergies, tell your doctor. Your doctor needs complete honesty from you so that he or she doesn’t order the wrong type of anesthesia or inadvertently give you the wrong dose because you don’t provide the correct information.
Be honest. Your doctor is counting on you, but he or she also wants you to ask any questions you might have so you are all on the same page. There is very little to worry about, though every medical procedure comes with a list of side effects and potential issues. Talk to your doctor to find out what you need to know and to ease your fears.