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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Anesthesia: General AnesthesiaAnestesia: Anestesia general

Anesthesia: General Anesthesia

You're scheduled for surgery. During surgery, you'll receive medication called anesthesia (also called anesthetics) to keep you comfortable and pain-free. Your surgeon has decided that you'll receive general anesthesia. This sheet tells you what to expect with this type of anesthesia.

What Is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia lets you sleep during surgery. Anesthetics go into the bloodstream (IV anesthetics) and/or into the lungs (gas anesthetics). You feel nothing during the procedure and normally remember nothing afterward. During surgery, your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level are also checked.

IV Anesthetics

IV anesthetics are sent into the bloodstream through an IV line in your arm. They're often given first so you can sleep before a gas anesthetic is started. Some kinds of IV anesthetics relieve pain, while others relax you. Your doctor will decide which kind is best for your procedure.

Gas Anesthetics

Gas anesthetics are breathed in through the lungs. They are often used to keep you asleep after you receive IV anesthetics. Gas anesthetics can be given through a facemask, an endotracheal tube, or a laryngeal mask airway.

  • Your anesthesia provider will most likely place a facemask over your nose and mouth while you're still awake. You'll breathe oxygen through the mask as your IV anesthetic is started. Depending on the kind of procedure, gas anesthetic may be added through the mask.

  • Your anesthesia provider may insert an endotracheal tube or a laryngeal mask airway into your throat once you're asleep.

Anesthesia Tools and Medications

  • IV anesthetics are injected into your bloodstream.

  • Gas anesthetics are breathed in through your lungs, where they pass into your bloodstream.

  • Electrocardiography leads (electrodes) record your heart rate and rhythm.

  • A blood pressure cuff monitors your blood pressure.

  • A pulse oximeter on the end of the finger measures your blood oxygen level.

Risks and Possible Complications

General anesthesia carries some risks. These include:

  • Breathing problems

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Sore throat or hoarseness

  • Allergic reaction to the anesthetic

  • Ongoing numbness (rare)

  • Irregular heartbeat (rare)

  • Cardiac arrest (rare)

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Pain Therapy Associates
Tel: 847-352-5511
Fax: 847-352-5585

455 South Roselle Road, Suite 104
Schaumburg, IL 60193

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