St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    General anesthesia

    General anesthesia is a treatment with certain medicinesthat puts you into a deep sleep so you do not feel pain during surgery. When you receive these medicines, you will not be aware of what is happening around you.

    Description

    You will receive general anesthesia in a hospital or outpatient office. Most times, a doctor called an anesthesiologist will put you to sleep. Sometimes, a certified registered nurse anesthetist will take care of you.

    The doctor will give you medication into your vein. You may be asked to breathe in (inhale) a special gas through a mask. Once you are asleep, the doctor may insert a tube into your windpipe (trachea) to help you breathe and protect your lungs.

    You will be watched very closely while you are asleep. Your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. The doctor or nurse taking care of you can change how deeply asleep you are during the surgery.

    You will not move, feel any pain, or have any memories of the procedure because of this medicine.

    Why the Procedure Is Performed

    General anesthesia is a safe way to stay asleep and pain-free during procedures that would:

    • Be too painful
    • Take a long time
    • Affect your ability to breathe
    • Make you uncomfortable
    • Cause too much anxiety

    You may also be able to have conscious sedation for your procedure. Sometimes, though,it is notenough to make you comfortable. Children may need general anesthesia for a medical or dental procedure to handle any pain or anxiety they may feel.

    Risks

    General anesthesia is usually safe for healthy people. The following people may have a higher risk of problems with general anesthesia:

    • People who abuse alcohol or medications
    • People with allergies or a family history of being allergic to medicine
    • People with heart, lung, or kidney problems
    • Smokers

    Ask your doctor about these complications:

    • Death (rare)
    • Harm to your vocal cords
    • Heart attack
    • Lung infection
    • Mental confusion (temporary)
    • Stroke
    • Trauma to the teeth or tongue
    • Waking during anesthesia (rare)

    Before the Procedure

    Always tell your doctor or nurse:

    • If you could be pregnant
    • What drugs you are taking, even drugs or herbs you bought without a prescription

    During the days before the surgery:

    • An anesthesiologist will take a complete medical history to determine the type and amount of anesthesia you need. This includes asking you about any allergies, health conditions, medications, and history of anesthesia.
    • Several days before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot.
    • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
    • Always try to stop smoking. Your doctor can help.

    On the day of your surgery:

    • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery. This is to prevent you from vomiting while you are under anesthesia. Vomiting during anesthesia can be dangerous.
    • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
    • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive.

    After the Procedure

    You will wake up tired and groggy in the recovery or operating room. You may also feel sick to your stomach, and have a dry mouth, sore throat, or feel cold or restless until the anesthesia wears off. Your nurse will monitor these side effects. They will wear off, but it may take a few hours. Sometimes nausea and vomiting can be treated with other medicines.

    Follow your doctor's recommendations while you recover and care for your surgical wound.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    General anesthesia is generally safe because of modern equipment, medications, and safety standards. Most people recover completely and do not have any complications.

    References

    Miller RD, Eriksson LI, Fleisher LA, et al. Miller's Anesthesia. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2009.

    Sherwood ER, Williams CG, Prough DS. Anesthesiology principles, pain management, and conscious sedation. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 16.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

            Self Care

              Tests for General anesthesia

                Review Date: 1/29/2013

                Reviewed By: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                adam.com

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                History
                Mission
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs
                Assessment

                Newsroom
                Services
                Brain & Spine
                Cancer
                Heart
                Maternity
                Orthopedics
                Pulmonary
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                mystlukes
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Health Risk Assessments
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Volunteer
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                Careers
                Careers
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile