In Greek, ‘Anaesthesia’ means ‘loss of sensation’. Anaesthesia is the condition where the physical sensations are taken away, temporarily without the person becoming unconscious. The person remains conscious throughout the period the anaesthetic has been injected - in most cases. Anaesthesia is used for medical purposes. Anaesthesia is required to relax the patient, both physically and mentally, so that the doctors can carry out their work without getting interrupted. The other reason is to prevent pain and discomfort. When a surgery or a medical procedure is needed to be done, the patient is subjected to anaesthesia. There are various ways on how an anaesthetic drug can be given – rubbing of an ointment, a nasal spray, a droplet, an injection, orally, inhalation of a gas etc.
How does Anaesthetics work?
Anaesthesia works by blocking nerve transmission from going to the pain centres in the central nervous system via nerves. Nerves are tiny bundles of fibres. This happens when anaesthetics bind to and inhibit the function of an ion channel (Sodium Channel) in the cell membrane of nerve cells.
Types of Anaesthesia
There are mainly three types of anaesthesia. Those three are:- 1) Local Anaesthesia
A local anaesthetic numbs a small part of your body. It is used when the nerves can easily be reached by drops, sprays, ointments or injections. The consciousness is not lost, but the patient will be free from pain or any other sensation that the area of administration might cause. Local anaesthesia is used for minor medical procedures, like stitching of a cut or for treating a minor wound. Local anaesthesia lasts from about a few minutes to a few hours. 2) Regional Anaesthesia
Regional anaesthesia can be used for operations on larger or deeper parts of the body. Local anaesthetic drugs are injected near to the bundles of nerves which carry signals from that area of the body to the brain. The most common regional anaesthetics (also known as regional ‘blocks’) are spinal and epidural anaesthetics. These can be used for operations on the lower body such as Caesarean sections, bladder operations or replacing a hip joint. As local anaesthesia, the patient remains conscious and has all the feelings lost. 3) General Anaesthesia
General anaesthesia is a state of controlled unconsciousness during which the patient will feel nothing and may be described as ‘anaesthetised’. This is essential for some operations and may be used as an alternative to regional anaesthesia for others. When the patient is in this state, the person’s physiological functions keep on functioning without the patient being aware. The anaesthetic drugs when introduced are carried to the brain by the blood. They stop the brain recognising messages coming from the nerves in the body. When the anaesthetic wears off, the patient will not remember anything from the period of being unconscious.
The Benefits of Anaesthesia
1) The benefits of Local Anaesthesia
* Avoids some of the risks and unpleasantness associated with other forms of anesthesia, such as nausea and vomiting. * The anesthetic action extends for longer than required and therefore provides pain relief for several hours after the operation. * Local anesthesia is associated with reduced blood loss. * It gives the patient a sense of feeling more "in control" as they are awake during the procedure. * The patient returns to the normal routine faster than in a general anaesthesia. The patient may even be able to return home the same day following the surgery.
2) Benefits of Regional Anaesthesia
* Give superior pain relief.
* Better pain control than intravenous drugs.
* Earlier recovery of bowel function.
* Less need for systemic opioids and less nausea as a result. * Easier breathing resulting from better pain control.
* Easier participation in...