Anesthesia


General or Other | Anesthesia (Medicine Field)


Description

The anaesthesia is represented by a series of procedures, using anaesthetic drugs to cause a partial or complete loss of sensation in the body (pharmacologically induced and reversible state of amnesia,) commonly used to block the pain of surgery.

Types of anaesthesia include local anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia, general anaesthesia, and dissociative anaesthesia. Local anaesthesia inhibits sensory perception within a specific location on the body, such as a tooth or the urinary bladder. Regional anaesthesia renders a larger area of the body insensate by blocking transmission of nerve impulses between a part of the body and the spinal cord. Two frequently used types of regional anaesthesia are spinal anaesthesia and epidural anaesthesia. General anaesthesia refers to inhibition of sensory, motor and sympathetic nerve transmission at the level of the brain, resulting in unconsciousness and lack of sensation. Dissociative anaesthesia uses agents that inhibit transmission of nerve impulses between higher centres of the brain (such as the cerebral cortex) and the lower centres, such as those found within the limbic system.

Patient risks to anaesthesia increase with age and with other co-existing medical problems. The most serious complications are associated with general anaesthesia and can result in breathing problems, lung infections from aspiration (breathing in stomach contents into the lungs) and/or death. Patients can infrequently have bad reactions to the general anaesthesia including allergic reactions and very rarely a heart attack or stroke.

Specialization

In the strict sense, the term anaesthetist refers to any individual who administers anaesthesia. The role of the anaesthesiologist is no longer limited to the operation itself. Anaesthesiologists may elect to subspecialist in anaesthesia for particular types of surgery (cardiothoracic, obstetrical, neurosurgical, paediatrics), regional anaesthesia, acute or chronic pain medicine, or Intensive Care Medicine.

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