General Anesthesia: Making Surgery Possible Since 1846
In 1846 history was made and anesthesia was used for the very first time in a surgical procedure. Dr. William T.G. Morton’s discovery revolutionized not only dentistry but the medical world as well. Allowing doctors to eliminate pain has enabled surgeons to heal their patients from the inside out. At Sedaros Oral Surgery, we employ the use of general anesthesia and other sedation techniques to ensure our patients are pain free during their oral surgery procedures. It is also our duty to inform them of the associated risks and provide the knowledge that will ensure they react well to the sedation and heal properly.
The History of Modern Anesthesia
Prior to the use of anesthesia, nitrous oxide was widely used to alleviate pain in patients undergoing medical procedures. This method was not entirely effectual, and because of the severe pain doctors were unable to performing any abdominal surgeries. In 1846 Dr. William T.G. Morton, a young dentist from Boston, changed history. He performed the first surgery with anesthesia. Morton proved that ether was a gas and could be administered in specific doses to eliminate pain in surgical subjects. Many years later the use of intravenous drugs were tested and began to take hold. In 1932 the use of intravenous barbiturates and then sodium thiopental helped surgeons operate on many patients with many conditions thus illuminating the practice of medicine and healing the human body. The addition of anesthesiologists to the surgical profession has been one of the most beneficial additions in medical history. Surgeons today, with the help of anesthesiologists, can perform surgery on any part of the body without worrying about the patient feeling any pain or discomfort.
In the decades following the discovery of general anesthesia, many leaps and bounds have been made. Modern anesthesia is comprised of a set of pharmaceuticals that numb the body, render the patient unconscious and ensures that the patient will have no memory of the procedure along with feeling no pain. They are administered both by inhalation and as an intravenously. Anesthesia is also extremely important because it limits the body’s physiological responses. This ensures that blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels will remain consistent during the procedure.
A patients can expect to be awoken from surgery feeling no pain until the rest of the anesthesia wears off. A common drug used in anesthesia was introduced in the 1970s, Propofol, is extremely effective in providing a shorter recovery time.
Risks of Anesthesia
Surgery is full of inherent risk and anesthesia is no different. A surgeon will not place a patient under general anesthesia without cause. If local anesthetic or another sedation technique can be used, Dr. Sedaros will always opt for the more conservative approach. When a patient must undergo general anesthesia they are provided with a list of instructions to follow before and after the surgery. It is extremely important that a patient heeds these warnings. Failing to do so can results in serious complications. The most important being that a patient should not eat or drink 12 hours prior to surgery. Aspiration is a real threat and having a completely empty stomach will make this a non-issue. Other risks are elevated due to physical health of the patients. Patients who smoke, abuse alcohol, are obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure, drug allergies, sleep apnea, a history of seizures, or other heart, lung, or kidney conditions are at risk of developing pneumonia, stroke, heart attack or post operative confusion. However, these stipulations make undergoing surgery more risky – despite the use of general anesthesia.
Administration of anesthesia is in general a very safe practice that we utilize in many of the surgeries we practice in our Melbourne, Florida offices. It allows us to perform wisdom teeth removal, jaw surgeries, and many other extensive and intricate procedures. If you have any questions about general anesthesia and its role in your oral surgery, don’t hesitate to ask. This miraculous technology allows surgeons, like Dr. Sedaros, to heal the body can be very confusing. Our goal is to educate our patients so they know what to expect before and after being, “put under” so that they can effectively prepare and recover properly.