The Anaesthetic Clinic @ Alvernia
with you in the operating theatre and delivery suite
What is Anaesthesia?
The word anesthesia was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in 1846, and comes from two Greek words: "an" meaning "without" and "aesthesis" meaning "sensation". Most people will undergo an anaesthetic either during the delivery of their baby or for a surgical procedure. Many of today's operations are made possible as a result of developments in anaesthesia and training of specialist anaesthetists.
Should you require an anaesthetic, an anaesthetist will be with you all the way from the preoperative assessment of your medical condition and planning of the anaesthetic, to monitoring your well-being throughout the procedure to ensure the best chance possible of a good outcome and comfortable recovery.
Relief of pain and suffering is central to the practice of anaesthesia. Despite an increase in the complexity of surgical operations, modern anaesthesia is relatively safe due to high standards of training that emphasise quality and safety. In addition, there have been improvements in drugs and equipment.
What are the types of Anaesthesia?
There are various types of anaesthesia, ranging from sedation where you may be conscious for part of your procedure, to a general anaesthetic where you will be unconscious throughout.
Conscious sedation or Monitored Anaesthetic Care
In conscious sedation a patient's level of consciousness is reduced such that during the procedure, he or she can respond purposefully to verbal commands or light stimulation by touch. Deeper levels of sedation is used for procedures where there maybe some discomfort and pain but where a full general anaesthetic is not required. You may not have much recollection of events after you are given sedation.
Local and Regional anaesthesia
Local anaesthetics can be applied to a specific part of the body to numb sensations and prevent pain during minor surgical procedures.
Regional anaesthesia refers to the application of local anaesthetics to numb a wider area of the body. It can involve nerve blocks, epidural blocks and spinal blocks. Patients can undergo minor procedures purely under a local or regional anaesthetic, but these techniques can also be combined with a general anaesthetic.
Once local anaesthetic is injected in the desired region, patients may experience numbness and tingling in the area supplied by the nerves and it may become difficult or impossible to move that part of the body.
In a general anaesthesia various drugs are used so that the patient will not respond to any stimuli, including pain. It may be associated with changes in breathing and circulation.
The drugs used are commonly a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses.
General anaesthesia is more than just being asleep, though it will likely feel that way to you. The anaesthetised brain doesn't respond to pain signals or reflexes, allowing you to undergo your surgical procedure safely and comfortably.
The various forms of anaesthesia are administered by an anaesthetist or anaesthesiologist, a specially trained medical doctor who specialises in anaesthesia or anaesthesiology. While you're under anaesthesia, the anaesthetist monitors your body's vital functions and manages your breathing, helps ensure you feel as little pain as possible, thus giving you the best chance of a quick recovery once your surgery is over.