What happens when we are under anesthesia?
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Anesthesia can be performed before performing a surgical, obstetrical or medical act. There are several types of anesthesia, including general, local or locoregional anesthesia, which have the same objective: to reduce or eliminate pain. Interviewed by the Journal des Femmes, Dr. Aurélien Jacquemod, anesthesiologist, explains the course and mechanism of this procedure.
Anesthesia is a procedure whose purpose is to remove all sensation to facilitate the performance of a painful medical operation. Local anesthesia is applied to a single area of the body and does not alter the patient’s level of consciousness, while general anesthesia aims to put the brain to sleep.
Proponents of cosmetic surgery are used to anesthesia but do not necessarily know the risks of this procedure. To enlighten you on this subject, Dr. Jacquemod provides key information to the Women’s Diary.
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General anesthesia is to inject anesthesia products into the blood so that the patient’s brain can no longer feel pain. “Given that pain constantly stimulates the areas of nerve endings, which will transmit information through the nerves to the brain, the brain must be put to sleep deeply so that it no longer integrates these signals”, explains doctor Jacquemod .
To start this anesthesia, the doctor begins by placing an infusion in order to provide the patient with a large quantity of oxygen. When the patient is pre-oxygenated, hypnotic drugs, analgesics and sometimes a drug with curarizing properties are injected to induce relaxation of the muscles. Afterwards, the patient loses consciousness and must be placed on artificial ventilation. « This is necessary when the brain is so asleep that it loses the ability to generate spontaneous breathing, » says the specialist. Finally, after the medical procedure, the doctor monitors the patient’s condition in the recovery room.
For this method, the most severe risks are the appearance of an allergy causing potentially fatal anaphylactic shockrespiratory complications due to artificial ventilation or mechanical complications related to intubation.
What is the principle of local anesthesia?
Local anesthesia is the one that is generally practiced at the dentist or at the dermatologist to remove a mole likely to evolve into cancer. “We will directly anesthetize the skin, the lip, or the tooth, and the area then becomes insensitive to pain”, explains Aurélien Jacquemod. Doctor directly inserts a numbing product into a small area where the incision will be made. He specifies that this anesthesia does not lead to loss of consciousness since the patient remains awake during the operation. The latter generally lasts from 10 to 15 minutes, while the anesthesia can last from 30 to 60 minutes.
In the case of local anesthesia, complications are rare. However, sometimes the fear of the injection causes a feeling of discomfort. In addition, the anesthetist may inject the product into a vein, which is likely to cause neurological or cardiac disorders. But this fault remains “extremely rare”, indicates the specialist.
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What is the principle of loco-regional anesthesia?
Loco-regional anesthesia consists of injecting an anesthetic product to put to sleep “up to 7 or 8 nerves” and remove sensations from only one part of the body. « Loco-regional anesthesia has a concept similar to local anesthesia, but this time, we are going to anesthetize the nerve directly », indicates the doctor. In addition, the specialist explains that this anesthesia is performed for localized interventions and gives good results in reducing pain. Moreover, it is not accompanied by loss of consciousness and promotes faster recovery. “It is therefore necessary to favor loco-regional anesthesia as long as possible, because it is much less heavy”, specifies the doctor.
Moreover, the risks of anesthesia are relatively rare. According to the specialist, the two main complications are neurological or cardiac disorders if the anesthesiologist injects the product into a vein or even damage to the nerve endings, if the doctor pricks “in the nerve instead of pricking next to it”. In the latter case, the patient may experience motor disorders. But Dr. Jacquemod specifies that these errors have become exceptional.