What is General Anesthesia

People are often found worried about little things, no matter they have a small operation or a big one. The often repeated query of the patients is that whether the doctor will give them anaesthesia or chloroform. But they have to know this that chloroform became obsolete decades ago. From many years anaesthesia is used, it is much safer today. Anaesthesia can be administered with just a little prick of a needle. This prick injects the anaesthetic into the patient’s vein, while the patient falls into deep slumber to wake up only after the surgery. The importance of anaesthesia cannot be avoided. An operation without anaesthesia is like a torture.

History of General Anaesthesia

It is really difficult to say about the origin of anaesthesia without remembering the first pain relieving drugs. In ancient times Egyptians used poppy seeds during the operations. It is found that Roman used the extract of Mandragora plant to alleviate pain. The Greek people used herbs such as hemp and then the Chinese used cannabis. People used mandragora mixed with wine and opium for surgery between 2nd and 5th century. Sometimes physical methods are used to numb the area like compression of blood vessels etc.  Even sometimes bloodletting, hypnosis or even the barbaric custom of giving a forceful knocks on the head of the patient were practiced.

Purpose of General Anaesthesia

The purposes of general anaesthesia are

  • Amnesia- it is loss of memory

  • Immobility- a loss of motor reflexes

  • Analgesia- it is a loss of reaction to pain

  • Hypnosis- it creates loss of consciousness.

The main use of anaesthesia is to make surgery successful without giving any pain to the patient. With the help of the anaesthesia, surgeons are able to access the organs and structures within the depth of the body. With the help of the anaesthetic gases the anaesthetist can now keep the person asleep. Modern gases help patient to keep his muscles sufficiently relaxed for the surgeons to work without any disturbance or hindrance. The patient is also free of pain.

Types of General Anaesthesia

There are different types of anaesthesia available but they are given as per the conditions and need of the patients. The main aim is the successful surgery with no pain. Sometimes medicine is injected and sometime some gases are inhaled. Some inhalation anaesthetic agents that are currently used are isoflurane, nitrous oxide, desflurane, and sevoflurane. Inhalational anaesthetic medicine is a chemical compound that possesses general anaesthetic properties that are given to the patient via inhalation. This activity is done by the anaesthetist. It is given to the patient through an anaesthetic mask, laryngeal mask airway or tracheal tube that is connected to some type of anaesthetic vaporiser and with an anaesthetic delivery system. These gases are safe for the patients.