Preparing for surgery: what you should know about anaesthesia

This blog post is the first in our series aimed at addressing some of the common queries and concerns as you prepare for your chosen cosmetic procedure. We will be exploring the types, effects and risks of anaesthesia.

People who undergo any kind of cosmetic treatment, always worry about the pain they have to endure during the operation. The toleration of pain usually varies between patients, but in order to minimise the physical and emotional stress, doctors use anaesthesia.

Anaesthetics are a type of drug, used to numb the sensation in specific areas, in order to prevent discomfort and pain during the course of a surgery or medical tests. The literal meaning of anaesthesia is loss of sensation.

There are two main types of anaesthesia

  • General
  • Local (Regional)

General anaesthetics are usually used when a serious medical procedure needs to be done. Patients are fast asleep and don’t remember anything after waking up. It can be applied in various ways ‐ an injection on the back of the hand or as a gas, which you inhale. The latter is usually preferred, due to the comfort and speed with which it affects the person.

Don’t worry though, if you prefer the injection, an ointment can be used to numb the area and minimise discomfort.

Local, or regional anaesthetics are used when minor procedures need to be undertaken.

Patients are awake and the anaesthetic blocks a specific area or group of nerves. It can also be applied through various ways ‐ ointment, spray, drops or injection.

Epidural, spinal or sedation

Under epidural, the lower part of your body is numbed. It is usually used during labour or childbirth.

Spinal anaesthetic usually lasts several hours and it is used to carry out procedures on the lower part of the body. Sedation is the medication that makes you sleepy and relaxed.

Patients rarely have complications after the anaesthetics, however, some side effect may occur.

These include:

  • Feeling sick/ vomiting
  • Dizziness/feeling faint
  • Feeling cold and shivery
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Problems passing urine
  • Itching
  • Bruising
  • Soreness

It is unlikely that these side effects will last long, however if you have any concerns your doctor will discuss those with you.

Prior to your procedure, the anaesthesiologist will come and talk to you in length. This is to ensure, that the medication that is going to be used won’t interfere with your health.

Finally, a very educational video from TEDed explains in detail how Anaesthesia works on your body.

What are your thoughts and concerns in the months and days before surgery? Ask your questions here or in the comments below.