General Anesthesia



In general anesthesia, you are deeply unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthetic drugs. Some are vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications introduced through a vein.

During anesthesia, you are carefully monitored with very sophisticated equipment. Your blood pressure, electrocardiogram, oxygenation and breathing status is constantly controlled and treated by your anesthesiologist. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and frequently into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision.

Your Anesthesiologist, based on your history may consent you for other types of high tech monitoring. These could include cardiac ultrasound, heart catheters, or arterial catheters to assist them in medical decision making during more complex surgeries.

They may offer you the option of combining a required general anesthetic with a regional anesthetic for post-operative pain control.

see regional anesthesia

At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesiologist will reverse the process and you will regain awareness in the recovery room. Many patients are afraid of the breathing tubes used during general anesthesia. The fact is that they often only cause minor throat irritation for a short time. There is a rare risk of dental/oral injury during the placement of these tubes, but your anesthesiologist is specially trained to do this as gently as possible. Some patients do remember there breathing tube “coming out” at the end of an operation. It is not painful but can produce some gagging. It is important to note that removing the breathing tube early to assure the patient will not remember is unsafe.

Anesthesiologists are your safety advocates during surgery and the immediate post-operative recovery period.

Information for this website was obtained from the
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
web site patient information center.