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St. Maarten Medical Center
Anaesthesia stops you feeling pain and other sensations. It can be given in various ways and does not always make you unconscious.
General anaesthesia gives a state of controlled unconsciousness. It affects the brain as well as the entire body. General anaesthesia is administered through a vein (intravenously, or IV), or you may breathe it in. It is essential for some operations. You are unconscious and feel nothing during surgery.
Anaesthetists are doctors with specialist training who:
Your anaesthetist will meet you before your operation. They will discuss the anaesthetic you could have, including benefits, risks and your preferences. They will then:
If there is a choice of anaesthetic, this will depend on:
Pre-medication is given before some anaesthetics. Premeds prepare your body for surgery – they may start off the pain relief, reduce acid in the stomach or help you relax. Some pre-meds make you more drowsy after the operation. If you think a pre-med would help you, please ask your anaesthetist.
A needle is used to start most anaesthetics in adults. If you are very worried about this, please talk to your anaesthetist.
Nothing will happen to you until you understand and agree with what has been planned. You have the right to refuse if you do not want the treatment suggested or if you want more information or more time to decide.
By providing this information, the clinical team can compile an accurate record of your current medication. Any medicine that you are taking that was bought from a pharmacy, supermarket or via the internet including: Over-the-counter medication, Homeopathic medicines, Herbal preparations and/or Indigestion Remedies.
Be sure to tell the anesthesiologist and the nurse about your medical problems including allergies as well as your medical history such as Asthma.
The anesthesiologist may advise you to stop taking certain medications if you are having surgery. It will still be useful for you to bring your medication on your day of surgery, even if it has been decided to stop using your medication before coming into surgery.
Diabetic and hypertension patients will receive special instructions for management of blood sugar and medications. Asthma patients should bring along their Ventoline or Combivent puff.
You will be given clear instructions about eating and drinking. These instructions are important. If there is
food or liquid in your stomach during your anaesthetic, it could come up into your throat and damage your
A member of staff will go with you to the theatre. You can wear your glasses, hearing aids and dentures until you are in the anaesthetic room. You may be able to keep them on if you are having a local or regional anaesthetic.
Jewelry and/or any decorative piercing should ideally be removed. If you cannot remove it, the nurses will cover it with tape to prevent damage to it or to your skin.
You may walk to theatre, accompanied by a member of staff, or you may go in a wheelchair or on a bed or trolley. If you are walking, you can wear your own dressing gown and slippers.
Final checks will be done as you arrive in the operating department, before the anaesthetic starts. You will be asked to confirm your name, the operation you are having, whether left or right side (if applicable), when you last ate or drank and your allergies. These routine checks are normal in all hospitals.
Your anaesthetic may start in the anaesthetic room or in the operating theatre. Your anaesthetist will be working with a trained assistant. The anaesthetist or the assistant will attach machines that measure your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
Almost all anesthetics, start with a needle being used to put a cannula (thin plastic tube) into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. If needles worry you, please tell your anaesthetist. A needle cannot usually be avoided, but there are things he/she can do to help.
There are two ways of starting a general anaesthetic:
Once you are unconscious, an anaesthetist stays with you at all times and continues to give you drugs to keep you anaesthetized.
The Recovery room: After the operation, you will usually be taken to the recovery room. Recovery staff will make sure you are as comfortable and free of nausea as possible. When they are satisfied that you have recovered safely from your anaesthetic you will be taken back to the ward.
Good pain relief is important and some people need more pain relief than others. It is much easier to
relieve pain if it is dealt with before it gets bad. Pain relief can be increased, given more often, or
given in different combinations.
Occasionally, pain is a warning sign that all is not well; therefore, you should always report it to your
nurses and seek their advice and help. Here are some ways of giving pain relief:
The are some possible side effects and complications associated with having an anaesthetic or an anaesthetic
Very common and common side effects
Uncommon side effects and complications
Rare or very rare complications
Death caused by anaesthesia are very rare.