What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is used on a patient to reduce the feeling of pain induced during surgical procedures and dental treatments. Anesthesia induces patient into relaxing condition by blocking pain. It makes the patient drowsy and also if needed makes the patient unconscious during the surgery.


What is Anesthesia


Doctors say the general anesthesia is “a drug induced reversible coma”. Several scientists and anesthesiologists are studying the effects of anesthesia on the body. Study of anesthesia is known as anesthesiology and it is partly related to neuro science. A lot of research is yet to be done to know the exact effect of anesthesia on the brain however usage of anesthesia is a big boon that research has given to the world of medicine. Operations of patients are totally dependent on the anesthesia. The role of anesthesiologist is very crucial in an operation and he/she has to continuously monitor the patient’s health conditions like heart beat, pulse rate and blood pressure.



The different types of anesthesia currently being administered are as followed:


Local anesthesia: This type of anesthesia numbs only the required portion in the body. The patient remains awake during the surgical procedure or treatment.


Regional anesthesia: It inhibits pain in larger parts of the body. There are two types of regional anesthesia.


  • Peripheral nerve blocks: This type of anesthesia obstructs pain around a precise nerve or group of nerves. It is usually used in surgical procedures that are conducted on arms, hands legs, feet and face.
  • Epidural and spinal anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is given to the spinal cord. Painless feeling is spread to organs in the lower body like stomach, legs and hips.


General anesthesia: It shows its effect on the brain and also rest of the body. This type of anesthesia can be given intravenously or the patient may be asked to inhale it. The patient will become unconscious and does not feel the pain.


Anesthesia is given to the patient after considering the patients health history.

Patient’s current and past history:

Patient should give information about any surgeries he had undergone in the past. Major illness related to heart or diabetes should be disclosed. Any allergies related to medicines also should be informed.


Surgery type

Depending on the complexity of the surgery doctors decide which type of anesthesia to be given to the patient.


Test results

After verifying reports related to blood or ECG, doctors decide on the type of anesthesia. In few cases doctors may take the opinion of the patient in advocating anesthesia while in some cases the patient will not have any choice.



There are several side effects with the use of anesthesia. Breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure may get affected with high doses of local or regional anesthesia.

  • Few patients develop headaches with the use of spinal anesthesia.
  • Specific risks of anesthesia depend on the age, health conditions and patient’s response to the medicines.
  • If the patient has health problems like lung or heart disease, there may be some problems with anesthesia.
  • Usage of certain medicines, consuming alcohol, smoking and taking illegal drugs also may pose problems when anesthesia is used.
  • Epidural or spinal cord anesthesia may be the cause for back pain in few cases.
  • After the surgery the patient may still have the after effects of anesthesia. The patient may feel numbness in the parts where anesthesia is given. It will take some time for the effects of anesthesia to come down. It also depends on the health condition of the patient.


The patient is informed about the type of anesthesia that will be used and the precautions to be taken are informed. Minor surgery patients are advised to go home on the same day. But depending on the complexity of the surgery, the patient will have to stay in the hospital till completely recovered.

  • The most frequent reason for using general anesthesia or deep sedation is to hinder the procedure from being remembered, not reducing pain. Pain can usually be reduced with less involved techiques that carry less risks, and less dicomfort in the long run. One may therefore question the moral standerds behind the extensive use of general anesthesia.