Debunking 4 Common Myths about Anesthesia

Most of us can agree to the fact that surgery fears are a real thing. But do you know there is even a term for it? Tomophobia- the fear of surgery!

Well, it is also a fact that surgical procedures are not as they seemed to be hundreds of years ago. Technology advancement has made surgical procedures quite short, less painful with reduced complexity. One such advancement was the discovery of anaesthesia.

Anaesthesia- a medical science miracle

Thanks to the advancement of medical science for making surgical procedures less painful!

Anaesthesia is the administration of drugs that interrupts our brain’s ability to process pain or keep a record of what happened during the surgical procedure. Anaesthesia was first discovered in 1846 by William T. G. Morton who publicly demonstrated the use of anaesthesia for surgical procedures.

Stages of anaesthesia

Medically speaking, there are four stages of anaesthesia, including;

1- Analgesia

2- Excitement

3- Surgical Anesthesia

4- Respiratory arrest

Common myths about anaesthesia

But as the practice of anaesthesia became common, so as the myths regarding it. These misconceptions create a sense of fear among people regarding surgeries. The stories of people waking up during the surgical procedures stick to their mind. While there is little truth behind these.

My mother who went to a renowned general surgeon in Lahore for the removal of a tumour in her abdomen was really afraid of anaesthesia. It took us hours to comfort her that nothing would happen.

This experience made me feel like these misconceptions need to get cleared. In case you are also wondering what are the facts and fiction of anesthesia, read this article.

When my mother was treated at Ihsan Mumtaz Hospital in Lahore, her surgeon was kind enough to give her a proper session on anaesthesia which I already told her she was most scared of.

Let’s debunk some of the common anaesthesia myths;

1- You can wake up during surgery

You might have heard about those rare incidents where people woke up during the surgical procedure despite being anaesthetized. But let me tell you the truth! These incidents are rare, very rare!

Regaining consciousness during the surgery is not possible because your anesthesiologist gives you a precisely calculated amount of anaesthesia. Apart from this, he also asks about your previous health condition. After considering the duration of the surgical procedure a calculated amount is administered which is both safe and sufficient.

2- You will still feel pain during surgery

Well, this is not even possible. Anaesthesia disables your brain’s ability of pain processing which makes you unable to feel pain. This is the exact reason behind the administration of anaesthesia. However, if you might feel some pain after the completion of surgery which can be discussed with your physician.

3- You will not wake up after surgery

This is not true! For this, you need to understand what anaesthesia is?

Let me answer this.

Anaesthesia makes your body asleep for a limited period which is dependent upon the severity and length of the surgical procedure. Most of the time, patients regain consciousness after being anaesthetized unless a rare event like a stroke occurs. Normally your doctor thoroughly studies your medical history to avoid any complication during or after surgery.

4- Anesthesia can paralyze you

Well, anaesthesia can’t make you paralyzed. However, in the case of regional anaesthesia (which is given to any particular part of your body), there are chances that you lose sensation in a particular body part. But that isn’t long enough to be termed as paralysis. This temporary immobility can be treated with proper post-surgical treatment, making anaesthesia a safe practice.

5- Anesthesia dose is the same for anyone

Anaesthesia dose is as different as the person. Many factors determine the exact anaesthesia dose including weight, age, length of surgical procedure, and smoking and non-smoking habits

6- You will lose memory after anaesthesia

Though it takes some time to recover from anaesthesia and this also takes in memory loss. There may be also due to inflammation or other stress-triggers. So, you can’t blame anaesthesia for the temporary weight loss after surgery. If you tell your physician about the right medical conditions, you are less likely to suffer from the side effects of anaesthesia.

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