There are two types of anesthesia that can be used for any surgical procedure, local and general.
Local anesthesia is usually accompanied by intravenous medications that relax you. You will be sedated, but conscious and able to respond to the surgeon’s instructions during the procedure, but won’t be able to remember much of the operation afterwards. Local anesthesia is injected into the body area that is to be operated on to prevent the sensation of pain, and due to intravenous drug injection, this procedure is usually not unpleasant. This type of anesthesia is more common than general anesthesia and is usually less expensive (no need to numb the ankle so that the breast does not hurt).
If you want to feel absolutely nothing, general anesthesia is the alternative. This type of anesthesia is as safe as local, but is more expensive, and is administered only in a hospital. I recommend general anesthesia when the procedure lasts more than four hours, or when the procedure is to be done in a hospital setting due to the health considerations and required monitoring. If this were your case I would refer you to colleagues who might help.
Anesthesia with conscious sedation
- What is conscious sedation?
- This type of sedation induces an altered state of consciousness that minimizes pain and discomfort through the use of pain medications and sedatives. Patients who receive conscious sedation usually can talk and respond to verbal commands, and are able to communicate any discomfort they may be experiencing with the doctor. Also there is usually a brief period of amnesia which erases any memories the procedure. Anesthesia, which is what takes away the pain, is managed in the area in which it operates to completely eliminate any pain.
- Who can administer conscious sedation?
- Conscious sedation is extremely safe when administered by qualified professionals. Registered Anesthetist Nurses, anesthesiologists, other physicians, dentists and oral surgeons are qualified to administer this type of sedation. Specially trained registered nurses may also assist in the administration of conscious sedation.
- Who should monitor conscious sedation?
- Because patients can have a very deep sleep, adequate monitoring is absolutely necessary. The health professional monitors pulse, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels and remains alert throughout the process. This person must have no other responsibilities during the procedure and should remain next to the patient at all times during the process.
- What are the side effects of this type of sedation?
- A brief period of amnesia often occurs following the procedure performed with conscious sedation. Occasional side effects include headache, “hangover”, nausea and vomiting or unpleasant memories of the surgical experience.
- What can patients expect immediately following a diagnostic or surgical procedure?
- Qualified staff constantly monitors the patient after the procedure. Written postoperative instructions are supplied to the patient and family members to take home. Patients should not drive any vehicle, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions for at least 24 hours after receiving sedation. Usually there will be a follow up call to verify the patient’s condition and answer any questions they may have.
Conscious sedation provides a safe and effective option for those patients who will undergo surgery. The number and type of procedures that can be performed using conscious sedation have increased significantly as a result of new technology and new generation drugs. Conscious sedation allows patients to recover quickly and resume their daily activities in a shorter period of time than general anesthesia.