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How Does Anesthesia Work?

Anesthesia is the pain relief provided to patients during medical procedures. It is a Greek word which means "without sensation."

There are different types of anesthesia but the ones that come to mind first are local anesthesia and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is used to "numb" a specific region of the body, whereas general anesthesia is when a patient is made unconscious for a major surgical procedure.

Anesthetic drugs have been available since 1847 and about 60,000 people are given anesthesia per day in the US for surgery. Despite being a very common medical practice, however, doctors and scientists are still not exactly sure how anesthesia drugs work. Local anesthetics are believed to reduce or eliminate sensation for some time by blocking nerves. General anesthesia is more complex and scientists are still studying the effects of general anesthesia drugs on the brain.

Many people who have undergone general anesthesia describe it as a period of sleep. Experts, however, say that general anesthesia is closer to a state of coma rather than sleep, but one that is closely controlled and reversible.

Still, general anesthesia is not without risks and side effects. Administering general anesthesia requires great knowledge and skill and the procedure is performed by a doctor called an anesthesiologist.

More about anesthesia:

  • Before the availability of anesthesia in the 1800s, doctors had to perform serious procedures using substances like alcohol and opium to reduce patients' pain.

  • Anesthesiologists administer anesthetic drugs with careful calculation and precise doses to make sure that the patient becomes conscious at the correct time and without complications.

  • Conscious sedation is a type of anesthesia where a patient is sedated and does not feel pain but remains conscious and responsive during a procedure.

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anon991462
Post 2

Anesthesiologists make a lot of money.

anon991453
Post 1

What about the chinese acupuncture. It has the same effect!

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