What is involved in getting a general anaesthetic?

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Welcome to our guide on the journey through a general anaesthetic, led by expert anaesthesiologists. This page provides a concise overview of the key stages in ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for individuals undergoing surgery. From pre-operative assessments to induction, surgical intervention, and the emergence phase, each step is a carefully coordinated effort. Discover the transitions from consciousness to unconsciousness and back again, emphasizing patient safety and well-being. This guide offers insights for those preparing for or curious about the process of a general anaesthetic, with a focus on the expertise of anaesthesiologists throughout.

  • Pre-Operative Assessment:
    • Patient Evaluation: Before surgery, a thorough assessment is conducted, considering the patient’s medical history, current health status, and any pre-existing conditions.
    • Fasting Instructions: Patients are typically instructed to fast for a specific period before the surgery to reduce the risk of complications during anaesthesia.
  • Preparation in the Operating Room:
    • Monitoring Devices: Upon entering the operating room, the patient is connected to various monitoring devices, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor heart activity, a blood pressure cuff, and a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels in the blood.
    • Intravenous Line: A small needle is inserted into a vein, usually in the hand or arm, to administer medications and fluids.
  • Induction Phase:
    • Inhalation or Intravenous Induction: General anaesthesia is initiated through either inhalation of anaesthetic gases (such as sevoflurane) or the administration of intravenous medications (like propofol) to induce unconsciousness.
    • Airway Management: Once unconscious, the anaesthesiologist secures the patient’s airway, often with an endotracheal tube, to ensure a clear passage for breathing.
  • Maintenance Phase:
    • Controlled Breathing: The patient continues to receive a carefully controlled mix of anaesthetic gases and medications to maintain a consistent level of unconsciousness.
    • Muscle Relaxation: Depending on the surgical requirements, neuromuscular blockers like rocuronium may be administered to induce temporary paralysis, facilitating the surgical procedure.
  • Surgical Intervention:
    • Positioning: The patient is positioned appropriately for the surgical procedure, and the surgeon begins the operation.
    • Vital Sign Monitoring: Throughout the surgery, vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels are closely monitored by the anaesthesia team.
  • Emergence Phase:
    • Gradual Waking: As the surgery concludes, the administration of anaesthetics is reduced, allowing the patient to gradually regain consciousness.
    • Extubation: If an endotracheal tube was used, it is carefully removed once the patient demonstrates sufficient respiratory function.
  • Post-Operative Care:
    • Recovery Room: The patient is transferred to a recovery room, where medical staff closely monitor vital signs and assess the patient’s awakening and recovery.
    • Pain Management: Analgesics may be administered to manage post-operative pain.
    • Observation: The patient remains under observation until deemed stable, and then may be transferred to a hospital room or discharged, depending on the surgical procedure and individual recovery.

Throughout this process, the anaesthesiologist plays a critical role in ensuring the patient’s safety, comfort, and optimal physiological conditions. The specific details may vary based on the type of surgery and the patient’s individual health profile. Always consult with healthcare professionals for personalized information and guidance.