General anesthesia: Its a type of treatment that uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gases to render the patient unconscious during medical procedures and surgery. This exercise is accredited to be conducted by a trained anesthesiologist with the assistance of a certified anesthetist nurse. It causes a reversible loss of consciousness and analgesia for the patient to operate on the patient. They are administered intravenously or inhaled so that the patient is unable to feel pain during the surgery process.General anesthesia is used to trigger the functioning of different sites within the central nervous system to give room for surgery. They include:
a. Cerebral cortex: this is the outer layer of the brain responsible for tasks relating to memory, perception, and attention among other functions.
b. Thalamus: the site plays the role of relaying information from the cerebral cortex and regulate sleep, wakefulness and consciousness.
Reticulating activating system: it is a crucial site for monitoring sleep-wake cycles.
Spinal cord: it passes information from the brain to the body and vice versa. It also contains circuitry that controls reflexes and other patterns.
The patient’s muscles paralyze, breathing controlled through ventilation and monitoring of vital functions of the body. The anesthesiologist should monitor you before, during and after surgery to address any side effects and keep watch of any severe complication after that.
Side effects of general anesthesia after surgery
Various side effects may occur after the operation and may range from short-term to long-term impacts. They include:
1. Nausea and vomiting: This type of side effect occurs immediately after the procedure and trigger by some factors such as medication, type of surgery and motion.some people may feel sick for a day or two but not common to all. Anti-nausea medicines can be used to restore the patient.
2. Postoperative delirium: It is also referred to as confusion when regaining consciousness after surgery. It is another significant side effect that occurs after surgery, commonly seen in older people especially after major surgery.
General anesthesia contributes to this effect, but also other factors add such as the use of painkiller, the stress of surgery and even the stay in the hospital. The confusion come and go for about a week whereby you may have a problem remembering or focus. May worsen when one stay in the hospital for long after the surgery. Can be solved by having a family member, friend, wearing a hearing aid, glasses and even taking photos with family members and friends after the surgery.
3. Postoperative Cognitive dysfunction: It is an effect where memory loses last longer than a few hours or days. Postoperative cognitive dysfunction(POCD) can result in long-term memory and learning problems in individual patients. It is common in older people and those who experience certain diseases such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, lung diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. It is always important to notify the anesthesiologist of the experience of such conditions.The impairment is often mild and familiar, especially to major surgeries. The effect resolves within three to six months and thus the long term.
4. Dry mouth: The result felt when one wakes up after surgery. You feel parched and as long as one is not too nauseated sipping water can resolve the effect.
5. A sore throat: After the surgery, a tube is removed that aided breathing while you were unconscious. It leaves one with a sore throat.
6. Itching: An effect caused by the administration of narcotic (opioid) drugs during and after the operation. One feels itchy in they presence. Narcotics are one type of medication used for general anesthesia
7. Dizziness: It is an effect felt after surgery especially when one first stand up. Drinking plenty of fluids will help you resolve the outcome.
8. Chills and shivering: It is the falling of body temperatures during surgery. The doctors and nurse will make sure that the heat doesn’t fall too much during the operation. One may work up shivering, but this takes a few minutes or hours. The situation also is known to as hypothermia. One is also advised to inform the physician anesthesiologist of previous experience of malignant hypothermia or heat stroke.
9. Muscle aches: It’s the aching of the muscles. Drugs used to relax your muscles may have a soreness effect that occurs after the completion of the operation
10. Bladder problems: A short-term effect. You may have difficulty passing urine after the general anesthesia
Conclusion: General anesthesia is a process of making the patient unconscious to be ready for surgery. It helps the operation be conducted without the patient the feeling of pain and the doctor to perform the surgery with ease. Despite the side effects both short term and long term is an essential exercise in the operation process.