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Stace Anaesthetists

Types of Anaesthesia

General Anaesthesia

General Anaesthesia is used to provide a deep state of unconsciousness, and lack of bodily reaction to surgery.

The anaesthetic medication is given through an intravenous drip, or by mask inhalation, and often a combination of both. During this state of controlled unconsciousness, your anaesthetist is continually monitoring your status with the help of specialist equipment. At the completion of your surgery the anaesthetic is stopped and you will regain consciousness.

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Spinal Anaesthesia

Spinal Anaesthesia is where the anaesthetic is injected into the fluid just outside the spinal cord in your back rendering the lower half of the body numb to pain and feeling. The anaesthetic typically wears off in 2 – 4 hours, however pain relief may last for periods of up to 24 hours.

Indications for this technique include surgical procedures to the lower body and in combination with general anaesthesia to provide analgesia for upper abdominal surgery.  Depending on the type of operation and your own medical condition, a spinal anaesthesia may sometimes be safer for you and suit you better than a general anaesthetic.

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Epidural Anaesthesia

Epidural Anaesthesia involves the injection of local anaesthetic drugs through a small catheter into an area outside the spinal cord into the spine known as the “epidural space”. This produces a loss of sensation, pain and movement within 5 to 15 minutes, in the lower body for surgery. It can also be used to provide just pain relief for up to 3 days via the catheter. Epidural catheters are used for pain relief in child birth, and can be strengthened to provide full anaesthesia for Caesarian Section.

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Nerve Block

Nerve Block involves the injection of a local anaesthetic into the nerves that supply the body area being operated on.

Nerve blocks can be used as a sole form of anaesthetic or combined with sedation or a general anaesthetic to provide excellent pain relief. The operative area should be more comfortable for several hours after your surgery (in some cases for up to 18-24 hours).  An Ultrasound machine or nerve stimulator is often employed to guide the needle as close as possible to the nerve reducing the risk of nerve trauma.

In some specific cases, a catheter can be inserted through the needle and left in place in the tissue surrounding the nerve so that local anaesthetic solution can be infused over several days.

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Sedation involves using medications to provide a state of relaxation, drowsiness, light sleep or deeper sleep in certain situations. Deeper sedation may not be appropriate in patients with conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea or severe emphysema. Sometimes called twilight sleep, sedation is used in procedures such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, skin lesion removal operations, or cataract surgery.

Drugs which relax and sedate you will be administered via a needle that is inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. Oxygen will be given via a mask. You will be drowsy throughout the procedure and may not remember much afterward.

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Local Anaesthesia

Local Anaesthesia refers to injecting a numbing medication into the area to be operated on, so that surgery is not felt at all. It is limited to a small area only, so is often used for small procedures such as skin lesion removal, some facial surgery, or breast surgery. Sedation may be used with it for comfort and relaxation, or local anaesthesia may be used with longer acting numbing medications to provide pain relief after surgery with a General Anaesthetic.

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