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The information below is intended to provide details about general anaesthetic. For more information, you must contact your consultant
Before a patient undergoes a surgical procedure, they may be given a general anaesthetic to ensure they are fast asleep throughout. A general anaesthetic is a combination of drugs specifically designed to ensure you remain oblivious to what is happening during your procedure and are unable to feel any sensation.
The most frequently used method is to insert a thin tube, known as a drip, into a vein. Then the solution of drugs is administered, causing you to drift off to sleep within around 30 seconds or so. Sometimes it can be more appropriate for certain patients to breathe the drugs in as a gas – this would be administered using a face mask and takes the same amount of time to have an effect.
You will have a professionally trained anaesthetist monitoring you throughout your operation. They will keep tabs on the amount of anaesthesia in your system so it remains at a level that ensures you stay fully under.
As well as the general anaesthetic, there is also a local anaesthetic that can be administered for surgical procedures. However, this has the effect of numbing certain regions of the body but does not put you to sleep. Therefore local anaesthetic may be unsuitable for certain types of operations.
Alternative anaesthetics can be:
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant..
Depending on your state of physical fitness, the recovery times can vary. Generally, patients are advised to expect their physical reactions and ability to make decisions to possibly be impaired for 24 hours following waking from a general anaesthetic.
A general anaesthetic allows operations to be performed safely and effectively. The majority of patients that undergo general anaesthetic suffer no complications.
References: EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.