Anesthesia or anaesthesia is a state of controlled temporary loss of awareness that is induced for medical purposes.
Local anaesthesia numbs a specific part of your body, while general anaesthesia suppresses central nervous system activity resulting in unconsciousness and a lack of sensation. Sometimes general anaesthesia is also referred to as “sleep medicine”. You may have to get this before a surgery or a test that may be painful or require you to sit or lay very still. Anesthesiologists (or “sleep doctors”) are experts in giving this type of medicine and monitoring your body so that you stay safe. They go to school for a very long time (about 12 years) to do this job.
There are two different methods of receiving general anaesthesia. One is through a mask (typically an option for children 9 and under) and the other is through an IV (preferred for most children 10 and up). –
Shortly after the anesthetic is done being administered, you’ll wake up. You may feel a bit groggy and confused.
Read below to see the answers to some questions I asked an anesthesiologist:
Most of the time, we always would prefer to use an IV to administer anesthetic. It is safer for patients. When children are younger sometimes they find starting an IV scary or upsetting so we will use a mask to put them to sleep first. As a general rule, we will put most kids to sleep with a mask 10 years and under if they prefer. Kids come in all sizes though. If you are over 100lbs no matter what your age, an IV is a safer way to go to sleep. There are other medical factors that may mean you need an IV anesthetic – medical conditions, airway structure, if you have recently had something to eat… Your anesthesiologist will let you know what is safe for you. Anesthetics are dosed by weight, so the bigger you are the more you need. It takes a lot of anesthetic gas to breath in when you are big. Anesthetic gases are quite stinky and I don’t like masks, so if I was going to sleep I would always choose an IV.