If you’re prepping for major surgery or a minor procedure that requires general anesthesia, you might wonder: is anesthesia safe? The prospect of being unconscious during surgery can be a scary one. Even though the procedure may sound risky, general anesthesia is very safe when administered and monitored by professionals. Sleep Guardian’s specialties include keeping patients safe throughout even the most complex operations.
How Is Anesthesia Administered?
A physician anesthesiologist—a doctor who’s specially trained in anesthesia and critical care—administers medicine before your surgery. They might use an IV or have you inhale the medication through a face mask. Soon afterward, you’ll become unconscious, and all your muscles will relax.
Anesthesia safety is the physician’s priority. They’re trained to give you just the right dosage of medicine for your body, so you won’t accidentally take too little or too much. Even for patients with severe illnesses, anesthesia is safe and effective.
Effects of a General Anesthetic
General anesthesia affects the nerves in your brain, blocking the pain signals the brain usually sends to the body. You won’t feel pain the way you would if you were awake. You also won’t remember what happened during your surgery. Throughout the operation, an anesthesiologist will be monitoring your vital signs like breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Other medical staff, such as a nurse anesthetist, might be on hand as well. Physician anesthesiologists are trained in emergency medicine, so they can react quickly if an unexpected complication arises.
Anesthesia Safety Precautions Before Surgery
To make sure anesthesia is safe for you, anesthesiologists meet with you before the surgery to get a complete picture of your health. They may discuss topics like:
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you have
- Which medications you take and how often
- Any side effects you experience from medication
- Any medications you are allergic to
- Your previous experience with anesthesia, if any
This information helps the doctor choose which anesthesia medicine will be safest and most effective for you. They’ll also be on the lookout for any side effects you’re more likely to experience based on your medical history.
It’s important to let the anesthesiologist know if you or anyone in your biological family has ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia. If doctors are aware of this possibility, they can tailor your treatment plan to minimize anesthesia risks and side effects.
Keeping Anesthesia Safe During the Operation
By the time you’re in surgery, your medical team is prepared to ensure a safe experience.
- Masks or endotracheal (ET) tubes keep you breathing safely.
- Pulse oximeters provide oxygen.
- Intravenous (IV) fluids and resuscitation equipment are nearby in case they’re needed.
- Anesthesiologists use machines to monitor your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital functions.
- Anesthesiologists can adjust your dose or increase your fluids if necessary.
Anesthesia Side Effects
Like most major medical procedures, general anesthesia does have some side effects. Each person’s experience will be different, but anesthesia side effects are usually minor, and some patients don’t experience them at all. After your surgery, doctors and nurses will monitor you as the anesthesia wears off and you begin to recover. Temporary side effects might include:
- A sore throat from the breathing tube
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bruising where the IV was inserted
- Dizziness, confusion, and disorientation
Anesthesia side effects may last for several hours. Many medical professionals advise patients not to drive, go to work, or make any important decisions for 24 hours after surgery.
Risks of Anesthesia
Though anesthesia is very safe, anesthesiologists will still be looking out for risks during surgery. In almost all cases the surgical procedure itself, not the anesthesia, is the riskiest part of the operation. You may be at higher risk for anesthesia complications if:
- You have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
- You drink alcohol daily.
- You have asthma or another condition that affects the lungs.
- You’re a smoker.
- You have sleep apnea.
- You have a neurological disorder.
Let your anesthesiologist know if any of these risk factors apply to you. They’ll take extra care to monitor your brain waves and other vital signs so you’re getting enough anesthesia.
Anesthesia Removes Pain & Anxiety
Some patients may worry they’ll become conscious or “wake up” during the surgery. This rarely happens—only about one in 19,000 patients will become conscious under anesthesia. We specialize in providing anesthesia for people undergoing the following procedures:
- Gastroenterology procedures
- Urology procedures
- Gynecological procedures
Physician anesthesiologists watch carefully and work hard to make sure you don’t wake up during the operation. Since they monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs, they can adjust your medication if signs show you might regain consciousness.
Stay Safe Throughout Surgery with SleepGuardian
From preparation to recovery, the physician anesthesiologists at SleepGuardian are committed to giving you expert medical care. You can relax knowing our trained staff is focusing on your safety. To learn more about how SleepGuardian anesthesia can help you, call 844.904.4742 today.