Anesthesia as Pain Drug

In the practice of medicine (especially surgery) and dentistry, anesthesia is a temporary induced state with one or more of analgesia (relief from or prevention of pain), paralysis (muscle relaxation), amnesia (loss of memory), and unconsciousness. A patient under the effects of anesthetic drugs is referred to as being anesthetized. Anesthesia is freedom from pain. Each year, millions of people in the United States undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. Anesthesia, in the hands of qualified professionals like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure. Anesthesia care is not confined to surgery alone. The process also refers to activities that take place both before and after an anesthetic is given. In the majority of cases, anesthesia is administered by a CRNA. CRNAs work with your surgeon, dentist or podiatrist, and may work with an anesthesiologist (physician anesthetist). CRNAs are the advanced practice registered nurses with specialized graduate-level education in anesthesiology. For more than 150 years, nurse anesthetists have been administering anesthesia in all types of surgical cases, using all anesthetic techniques and practicing in every setting in which anesthesia is administered. Anesthesia enables the painless performance of medical procedures that would cause severe or intolerable pain to an unanesthetized patient.

Three broad categories of anesthesia exist: General anesthesia suppresses central nervous system activity and results in unconsciousness and total lack of sensation. Sedation suppresses the central nervous system to a lesser degree, inhibiting both anxiety and creation of long-term memories without resulting in unconsciousness. Regional anesthesia and local anesthesia, which blocks transmission of nerve impulses between a targeted part of the body and the central nervous system, causing loss of sensation in the targeted body part. A patient under regional or local anesthesia remains conscious. Two broad classes exist: Peripheral blockade inhibits sensory perception in an isolated part of the body, such as numbing a tooth for dental work or administering a nerve block to inhibit sensation in an entire limb. Central, or neuraxial, blockade administers the anesthetic in the region of the central nervous system itself, suppressing incoming sensation from outside the area of the block. Examples include epidural anesthesia and spinal anesthesia. There are both major and minor risks of anesthesia. Examples of major risks include death, heart attack and pulmonary embolism whereas minor risks can include postoperative nausea and vomiting and hospital readmission.

  • Sedation
  • Neuraxial Anesthesia
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Neuromuscular-blocking Drugs
  • Acute pain management

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