Find us on Social Media:

General Anesthesia
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia puts the entire body to sleep by giving medicine. It is often used during emergency surgery. It is also commonly used if a procedure would make you uncomfortable if you were awake.

Doctors trained in anesthesia (anesthesiologists) carefully balance the amount of anesthesia medicines given by closely monitoring the body’s functions. Medicines are used to:

  • Prevent pain
  • Relax the muscles
  • Regulate body functions

This is used so that surgery can be done without you:

  • Being aware of it
  • Feeling any pain

Possible Complications

Every precaution is used to prevent complications. Often, medicines are given in advance to prevent certain problems, such as nausea and vomiting. Even so, complications may occur and include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic used
  • Nerve damage or skin breakdown from positioning on the operating table
  • Sore throat or damage to throat, teeth, or vocal cords
  • While rare, there is a small risk of the following complications, especially among the elderly or those with medical problems:
  • Lung infections
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Anesthesia awareness—a rare complication where the patient becomes aware during the surgery

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Medical conditions—heart,...