Hello ladies and gentlemen. Here are
a series of questions and answers
to start you thinking about anesthesiology.
I'll follow that with a short history of the specialty
and a discussion on how anesthesiology
has changed the world. A common question
I'm asked, and is a reasonable question: I've been told
that I will be asleep during my surgery.
I don't think surgery can be performed on me if I were
just asleep. Is general anesthesia the same as sleep?
General anesthesia is not just deeper sleep.
It's much better compared
to a state of reversible coma. It's a type
of coma that we can induce and we
can reverse. And yes, we can reverse it
and you will wake up from your anesthetic.
The second common question I'm asked is: I've been told
that I will be paralyzed during my surgery. Isn't this dangerous?
How will I breathe? This statement is often accompanied
by my students with statements like:
that's really gross and how will you do that to people?
The answer is: you may be paralyzed during your surgery.
If the surgeon requires muscle relaxation
to complete the surgery successfully and safely,
or if the anesthesiologist must place a breathing tube
in your trachea. The anesthesiologist is responsible
for managing your breathing and will make sure
that you have no memory for this whole experience.
Third question that's commonly asked is: Will I remember
being operated upon? You will remember
entering the operating room and being introduced to the team
members that are going to be involved in your surgery.
You will then be given an anesthetic
which will eliminate all memory of the surgical
experience itself. And you will not be awakened
and you will not reform your memory
until the surgery is completed. After the anesthetic
is gone, won't I have a lot of pain?
When anesthesia is properly delivered, the provider
assures that pain prevention is an important aspect
of the care. Before the end of surgery,
the anesthesiologist will provide you with pain killers
that will produce good pain relief when you wake up.
In addition, the nurses in the recovery
room will give you additional pain relief,
if you require it. So here's
a definition from the Oxford
dictionary: It's not sleep,
surgery cannot be performed under conditions
of normal sleep. Period. And the Oxford dictionary
says: an anesthetic that affects the whole body
and it usually causes a loss of consciousness,
i.e. he had an operation under general anesthesia.
The critical word here
is a reversible drug-induced state of unconsciousness,
which is characterized by a coma-like state
under the control of the anesthetist,
term that is also know as anesthesiologist,
depending on what part of the world you're in.
It's often associated with muscle paralysis.
It's always associated with profound
amnesia for the surgical event.