What do anaesthetists do?
Many people do not realise anaesthetists are doctors! If you need an operation under general anaesthesia, the anaesthetist will look after you by putting you to sleep, sorting out your pain relief and (perhaps most importantly) waking you up after the surgery is finished. But general anaesthesia may not be the only option, read on to find out more about anaesthesia.
What is anaesthesia?
There are several different kinds of anaesthesia available. The choice of anaesthesia will depend on you, your anaesthetist and the surgical procedure you are about to have.
Here are the main types of anaesthesia available.
You will be given drugs, usually through a small plastic tube in the back of your hand, to make you completely unconscious during the surgery and you will wake up after the operation is finished.
There are different ways drugs can be injected to numb part of your body to allow surgery to proceed without you feeling any pain. These techniques are also very useful for providing pain relief for you after the operation. You can either stay awake during the operation or you may choose to have sedation to make you feel drowsy. A screen will be placed to prevent you from seeing any of the surgery and to keep the operating area clean.
You will be given drugs through a small plastic tube in the back of your hand to make you feel drowsy. You will not be completely unconscious like under a general anaesthetic, however your anaesthetist will adjust the level of sedation to ensure you remain comfortable. Sedation is often used in combination with a regional anaesthetic technique or for short procedures such as X-ray guided, pain injections. You may remember some events while sedated but you will not feel uncomfortable.
This video from NHS choices explains to you about an anaesthetic
What is best for you?
Everyone is different and it depends on what operation you are about to have. On the day of your operation your anaesthetist will meet with you to explain the options for you and together you will decide what is most suitable for you.