Alternate Names : Total Anesthesia
General anesthesia is a method used to stop pain from being felt during a
procedure or surgery. In this form of
anesthesia, medication is given to make the person unconscious.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
General anesthesia is the most powerful form of anesthesia. It is usually reserved for major surgery, such as
surgery inside the skull, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Other procedures
may also require general anesthesia.
How is the procedure performed?
General anesthesia uses medication to make a person unconscious. Medications
are commonly breathed into the lungs or injected into the veins through an
intravenous line inserted into the
vein of the hand or arm. An individual may also be paralyzed with other
medications to prevent movement during the surgery.
A ventilator, or artificial
breathing machine, breathes for the person during the procedure. This is
because the chest muscles are paralyzed. A ventilator
requires a tube to be put into the windpipe, known as endotracheal intubation. The tube goes through the
mouth and into the windpipe. Oxygen
and inhaled medication can then be delivered to the lungs.
The person is watched closely during the procedure. The oxygen levels in the
blood, pulse, blood pressure and other functions are monitored. Fluids
are usually given through an intravenous
line to prevent dehydration and
low blood pressure.
The individual is totally asleep and unable to feel pain during the surgery.
When the procedure is complete, the medication is turned off. The person will
have no memory of the surgery when he or she wakes up.