Is it true that anesthesia is harmful to the body?
The term “anesthesia” has a terrifying effect on many people. After all, it completely deprives a person of the ability to control himself. Perhaps that is why there are a lot of various rumors about him. Which of them is true, and what is a myth? And what is the harm of anesthesia?
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is the state of inhibition of the central nervous system, the main goal of which is to achieve pain relief. Doctors achieve this effect with the help of special preparations – anesthetics.
To understand the effect of anesthesia, you need to understand the mechanism of the appearance of pain. Every millimeter of the human body contains pain receptors. They catch any irritation. The received pain signals are transmitted from the receptors along the nerves to the spinal cord. And only then the information enters the main computer – the brain. After processing the received signals, the brain issues a command: “it hurts”. And the person really feels the pain.
Anesthesia allows you to temporarily interrupt such a chain. Thus, it blocks the transmission of impulses about pain. Before you consider what harm anesthesia can cause the body, you need to deal with the types of anesthesia.
Types of anesthesia
Do not confuse the concept of “anesthesia” and “anesthesia.” In the first case we are talking about turning off consciousness (the so-called general anesthesia). The term “anesthesia” includes all methods of anesthesia with the help of anesthetics.
During anesthesia, the consciousness is completely turned off.
Interruption of impulses can occur at any site. Depending on this, anesthesia may be:
Surface. Local anesthetics are used that cause the blocking of pain receptors. Pulses are suppressed at the initial stage.
Local. In this case, the nerve that serves as the impulse transmitter is blocked. Local anesthesia involves the introduction of anesthetics at the site of surgery. Pain interrupts at the initial section of the nerve.
Conductor. This anesthesia is very similar to local. But unlike her, the nerve is blocked not in the surgical area, but in any other area where access is most convenient. For example, during an operation on the arm, an anesthetic may be injected in the clavicle area. Such anesthesia requires a doctor of high skill and accuracy. If the needle goes straight into the nerve, it can cause serious damage. In the case of drug injection far from the “conductor”, there will be no necessary anesthesia.
Epidural. Blocking pain occurs at the level of the end of the nerve and its entry into the spinal cord. An anesthetic is injected into the epidural space – the area located between the sheath of the brain and the spinal canal.
General. Such anesthesia involves the suppression of the functioning of the brain. The pulses go through the whole chain and enter the main computer. But the latter does not give the command about pain. Therefore, the patient does not feel it.
What is more harmful for the body: general anesthesia or local anesthesia? Consider the safest superficial and local anesthesia.
More dangerous is the conductor. But this type of anesthesia is required only for operations on the limbs. It is followed by an epidural. It allows for surgical interventions only on the lower body (abdominal, standing). The greatest amount of risk is associated with general anesthesia.
The harm of narcosis to the body and common myths
It is not a single anesthesiologist to ascertain whether anesthesia is harmful to the human body or not. After all, research, involving the observation of the patient for later life, was not conducted. But while most anesthesiologists believe that anesthesia is most likely harmful.
During the operation, the human condition is fully controlled by the instruments.
However, one should not confuse possible harm with a variety of existing myths.
Awakening during surgery
The culprit of this myth was the sensational film “Anesthesia”. In it, the main character experienced severe pain during the operation, but could not wake up. In life, everything is somewhat different.
An anesthesiologist before the operation carefully calculates the required dose of anesthetic, taking into account the age, weight of the patient, his individual characteristics. If for any reason an error occurs at this stage, then devices that monitor the well-being of the operated person will be suspicious.
Monitoring includes monitoring of heart rate, oxygen saturation, pressure level. If the patient feels pain, then such indicators will let you know about it immediately.
Anesthesia reduces life expectancy by 5 years.
This myth always causes confusion among doctors. Scientific research in this area was not conducted. Therefore, to assert that anesthesia reduces the duration of life, and even more categorically declare that for 5 years, it is impossible.
If the general anesthesia went smoothly, then the harm to the body will be minimal. Although we should not forget that surgical interventions always serve as a serious stress. Therefore, doctors are trying without special need not to resort to them.
What if I don’t wake up after anesthesia?
Such a risk exists. According to statistics, there are one lethal outcome per 250,000 operations.