Anaesthetists are mainly responsible for keeping the patient safe and free of pain during a surgery. Prior to the scheduled operation, the anaesthetist will meet with the patient and discuss the procedure and what is the most appropriate anaesthetic technique for the operation. The anaesthetist will inform the patient of the risks involved in administering anaesthesia. During the operation the anaesthetist will continuously monitor the patients blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and brain function. After the operation, their role will involve the provision of post-operative medicines to relieve the post operative pain. The anaesthetist will also give the instructions as to when the patient can eat and drink again.
An anaesthetist is a doctor with several years of training in the field of anaesthetics. Anaesthetists must complete on the job training and a series of examinations to prepare them well for their profession. They tailor the best care plan for each individual patient, based on their background and specific needs.
Anaesthesia is very safe, but just like any other medical procedure, anaesthetics carry a risk. Some studies and large series of data report the anaesthesia-related mortality rate to be less than 0.00001%. This number is considered an extremely low risk according to international standards. Risk are related to the particular patient and the type of surgery, your anaesthetist will discuss this with you prior to your operation.
Before surgery, anaesthetists may give you different types of drugs for different purposes. To prevent you from feeling pain, block certain reflexes, to control nausea or to cause sedation. Anaesthetists provide different mixtures of drugs depending on the type of operation and needs of the patient. You may consult your anaesthetist regarding this prior to your operation.
Anaesthetics may be administered or given in different ways. Local anaesthetics may be given through injection, sprays, drops, or even as an ointment. Regional anaesthetics are mostly injected, as they need to be adminestered close to the nerves. General anesthesia may be administered through injection or may be inhaled and breathed into the lungs.
There are three types of anaesthetics:
- Local anaesthetic – This type of anaesthetic is applied only to the specific part of the body where the surgery will be done. The patient is conscious but will not feel the pain. This may be combined with sedation.
- Regional anaesthetic – This is applied to a larger or deeper part of the body. The patient is conscious but will not feel the pain. This may be combined with sedation.
- General anaesthetic – This type of anaesthetic makes the whole body insensitive. The patient is in a controlled unconscious state and does not feel anything. The patient wakes up a few minutes after the operation has been completed
An anaesthetic is a combination of drugs that makes your body, or just a particular part of your body, insensitive to feeling pain or other sensations. Anaesthetics are normally given to patients scheduled for an operation.