Anesthesia News

Anesthesia is the use of medication to relieve or eliminate pain during a medical procedure. The medication, called an anesthetic, is usually given by a specialist known as an anesthesiologist, though it sometimes given by another health care provider. Anesthesia can be given for procedures in a doctor’s office, a hospital, a medical center or an ambulatory surgical center.

Types of Anesthesia

There are several types of anesthesia, and the type a doctor decides to use will vary based on the nature and seriousness of the medical procedure. Local anesthesia is the least extensive kind of anesthesia, and it is used to numb just one part of the body, usually via an injection. For surgery on the foot or hand, for example, local anesthesia may be used. Regional anesthesia is similar but more extensive, and it’s used to numb an entire region of the body. An epidural given to a woman during childbirth is a type of regional anesthesia.

The most extensive form of anesthesia is known as general anesthesia. With general anesthesia, the patient is made unconscious and has no awareness of what is happening during the procedure. An anesthesiologist carefully monitors the patient during this process. General anesthesia is typically reserved for more extensive surgeries.

Safety of Anesthesia

Some people have fears about anesthesia, particularly the loss of control that comes with being made unconscious for a medical procedure. But anesthesia is generally regarded as quite safe, and it has become increasingly safe over the past 50 years. Currently, the likelihood of death caused by the administration of anesthesia is one in 200,000 to 300,000, which is extremely low. Anesthesia is thought to be safe for most people, but any concerns about the risks should be discussed with a doctor before administration of anesthesia.

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists

Date Posted
Article Title
Summer Baby, Higher Odds for Postpartum Depression?

Season of delivery and other factors may influence the risk, study finds

Easy Fix for Post-Op Shivers?

Acetaminophen during surgery might reduce common complication, study says

Lying Down After an Epidural: A Smart Idea?

Study found it increased chances of having a normal delivery

Study Debunks Notion That Epidurals Prolong Labor

Women had similar outcomes whether they got the anesthetic or a 'dummy' placebo

Does General Anesthesia Affect Babies' Brains?

Small study finds reduction in white matter among children operated on as infants

A Shot of Caffeine May Speed Wake-Up After Anesthesia

In animal studies, caffeine injections shortened recovery time

What Men Need to Know About ED Drugs and Anesthesia

Having surgery? Be forthright about use of erectile dysfunction drugs to prevent dangerous complications

Preparing for Anesthesia: 5 Tips You Should Know

Planning ahead can help you avoid complications during and after surgery

'Don't Cut Yet, Doc, I Can Hear You'

Study finds fewer patients awake during general anesthesia than previously thought

FDA Issues Anesthesia Warning for Pregnant Women, Kids Under 3

A long time under or repeated episodes of sedation may pose risk to developing brains, agency says

How to Ease the Pain of Infant Vaccinations

Three-pronged approach includes anesthetic cream, researchers say

Anesthesia Before Age 4 May Have Slight Impact on Later School Performance

The low 'overall difference in academic performance' is reassuring, researchers say

'Laughing Gas' May Not Ease Pain During Childbirth: Study

Nitrous oxide gaining interest among expectant mothers in the United States, researchers report

iPads Calm Surgery-Bound Kids as Well as Sedatives

Study found equal benefits in easing anxiety

Anesthesia Safe for Kids, Doctors' Group Says

But concerns, child's health history should be discussed with anesthesiologists before surgery

Anesthesia Safe for Infants, Toddlers, Study Says

No lingering mental effects seen after one exposure, but more research needed, doctor suggests

Can the Anesthetic Ketamine Ease Suicidal Thoughts?

A small study found that the drug worked quickly in people with major depression

Men, Avoid Impotence Drugs Before Surgery

Let an anesthesia professional know if you take these medications, expert cautions

Anesthesia Not Linked to Long-Term Mental Decline, Study Finds

Underlying health, previous functioning are more likely factors, researchers say

'Preemie' Babies May Face Long-Term Anesthesia Risks

Study tracked higher rate of complications up to age 22

Anesthesia After 40 Not Linked to Mental Decline Later, Study Finds

For adults, mild thinking and memory problems that may develop over time are unrelated, researchers say

Nitrous Oxide OK During Surgery for People With Heart Disease

Study eases concerns about the use of the anesthetic in non-cardiac procedures

Medication Errors Seen in Half of All Operations in Study

And 80 percent of the mistakes were preventable, researchers report

Decrease Seen in Epidural-Related Complications for C-Sections

Rates for problems linked to certain types of anesthesia down 25 percent over decade, study finds

Minds of Older Women Fuzzier After General Anesthesia Than Men's

Post-surgical decline less evident in elderly males, study says

More Evidence That General Anesthesia May Affect Young Brains

Anesthesia and surgery still safest for necessary procedures, experts say

Resuming Blood Pressure Meds After Surgery Linked to Better Outcomes

Study suggests delay in restarting drugs leads to more complications

Smokers May Need More Anesthesia, Painkillers for Surgery

Study finds effect seems to extend to people exposed to secondhand smoke, too

Local Anesthesia May Be Best for Infants During Surgery

Study found not putting young patients to sleep tied to fewer breathing problems afterwards

Surgery Patients Might Not Need Sedative Before Anesthesia

Experts say trend in U.S. is not to give patients these calming meds before procedure

Circumcision Past Newborn Stage Poses Risk for Boys, Study Finds

Delaying procedure also linked with higher costs, experts say

Risks From Epidural, Spinal Anesthesia Very Low, Study Says

Less than 1 percent of patients experienced dreaded headache

Anesthesia Complications Drop by Half, Study Finds

Rate of serious problems was highest in patients over 50

Chewing Gum Before Surgery Safe: Report

It's not encouraged, and food and drink still not OK, experts say

Rely on Mom-to-Be When Epidural Is Needed

Early use likely won't lead to delivery complications, review of previous studies finds

Many Anesthesiologists Fail to Wash Hands, Study Shows

Research documents numerous missed opportunities with each patient

Anesthesia Type May Affect Recovery From Hip Fracture Repair

Death rate, hospital stay reduced slightly with 'regional' approach

Pain Can Plague Women After Knee Replacement Surgery

Study also found that type of anesthesia and patient's weight play a role in levels of discomfort

'Nerve Block' to Neck Might Help Ease Hot Flashes

Women in small study suffered fewer moderate-to-severe episodes due to menopause

Study Questions Safety of Common Anesthesia Drug

Review tied etomidate to higher risk of death and heart problems compared to propofol

Type of Surgical Anesthesia Might Influence Prostate Cancer's Return

Study suggests that getting only general anesthesia raised risk of recurrence

Drug Abuse By Young Anesthesiologists Is Rare But Sometimes Deadly

Study finds rates approached 1 percent during doctors' training program