By Dr Sidharth Verma, Pain Management
Anaesthesia refers to the temporarily induced state of complete or partial loss of sensation. It is largely used in medicine, especially surgery. Anaesthesia enables the practitioner to use surgical instruments without the patient having any particular sensation of it, thus minimizing the pain. Pain management is the process of reducing the pain as much as possible, especially for patients undergoing a surgery.
Anaesthesia may be brought about by analgesia (being numb to pain), unconsciousness, amnesia (impaired cognitive functions) or paralysis. This process of pain management plays a vital role in the treatment and recovery of patients who are undergoing some form of pain. Anaesthetic drugs can be used to induce a partial or absolute numbness for as long as the pain lasts.
Anaesthetic drugs stop the particular nerve signals that stimulate awareness.
The types of anaesthesia include:
- Regional: This is local anaesthesia which works on only one area of the body.
- Epidural: This is used especially during child birth to numb the lower half of the body.
- Spinal: This is used to induce absolute numbness in the lower half of the body for surgery.
- Sedation: This is given to induce an absolute comatose state with relaxing brain and muscles.
Anaesthetics may be sprayed or applied as ointments, injected into the bloodstream or breathed in by the patient. The type of anaesthetic used largely depends on the medical history and requirement of the patient, while taking into consideration their preferences and susceptibility to certain allergies.
Side-effects of anaesthesia may include dizziness, slight pain, itchiness, nausea and headache. Major effects may even include allergies, permanent nerve damage or even death. Anaesthetics are extremely safe and trained professionals are always employed for their use. You can consult a pain management specialist for more details.