A little humor regarding effects of surgery!


This blog is a serious blog. My intent is to impart as much scientifically grounded information to you as possible regarding the use of music with surgery and other medical situations. But every now and then something really funny comes along:
“LOS ANGELES—Leave it to Robin Williams, who is recovering from his heart surgery last March, to liven up the proceedings at the recent premiere of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” in Washington, DC.”
Hope you’re staying cool and comfortable wherever you are!

How does anesthesia work?


Many inventions of the 19th century — telephones, airplanes, phonographs — have helped to shape the modern world. However, it could be argued that the 1846 discovery of effective surgical anesthesia holds a place of honor among the century’s advances.

Music for Surgery Headphones now available!

Use Less Anesthesia by adding music

Prior to the advent of effective anesthetics, surgery was a desperate last resort that used crude and dangerous means (including large doses of opium or alcohol, or knocking a patient unconscious) to dull the patient’s sensations. Today, whether it is a shot of novocaine at the dentist, a spinal or epidural during childbirth, deep sedation for a minor procedure or general anesthesia for major surgery, the use of effective anesthesia is a routine part of medical care.
Although most of us have experienced anesthesia, the general public has little understanding of what it is and how it works. According to Steve Kimatian, associate professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics in Penn State’s College of Medicine, anesthesia is not a single entity, but rather a manipulation of several physiological functions of the body.

“In its most basic sense, you can say that anesthesia consists of four components: hypnosis, amnesia, analgesia and muscle relaxation,” explained Kimatian.
These components — which range from local anesthetic injections to regional anesthetics (such as spinal and epidural) to general anesthesia — may be combined or used separately depending on the type of surgery and patients’ needs.

While you may have thought you were “asleep” for that tonsillectomy as a teenager, technically you were in a state of deep hypnosis. When you finally woke up in the recovery room, you probably didn’t remember anything about the surgery — thanks to the effects of amnesia-inducing agents you were given.

But Kimatian explains that sedation and amnesia do not necessarily mean the same thing. You can be “asleep” during a procedure but afterwards remember hearing the voices of the doctors or you can also be “awake” during a procedure, speaking with the doctors, answering questions and following commands, but remember nothing.
Said Kimatian, although you don’t remember having any pain during the surgery, that doesn’t necessarily mean the pain wasn’t there.

“A person can be sedated and appear to be asleep, they can be amnesic and not remember anything, but their body can still have a physiological response to a stimulus. Consider the tree falling in the forest analogy. If you had pain and you don’t remember it, did you really have pain? From an anesthesiologist’s standpoint, yes, because we have to address those physiologic changes that occur with response to stimulus.”

In cases requiring regional anesthesia, how do anesthesiologists block sensation to specific body parts and not others?

Explained Kimatian, if we touch a hot stove, thermal receptors in our hand send an electrical signal to our spinal cord which signals our brain, and we react by experiencing pain and removing our hand from the stimulus. To make sure we don’t feel the pain during a surgery or procedure, an anesthesiologist uses analgesics or local anesthetics to block the signal somewhere between the point of the stimulus and the brain.

“I could do a regional anesthetic selective to an individual finger, by just blocking the nerves of that digit, and you wouldn’t know the finger was in pain,” Kimatian said. “Or you can block all the nerves to the forearm so you wouldn’t feel the pain there. You could block it at the shoulder. You could block it at the epidural space where the nerves enter into the spinal sac, or you can put the person completely to sleep and block it at the cerebral level.”

The art and science of anesthesia, said Kimatian, is knowing how to tailor both the technique and the dosage to the individual patient’s needs. “Understanding the delicate balance between desired effects and undesired side effects requires a physician’s in-depth knowledge of physiology and pharmacology,” he added.
Source: by James Conroy, Research Penn State


Interesting history about anesthesia


There is so much in this world that we take for granted…we have to!  We can’t be experts on everything and especially when it comes to the medical world, we must trust that our doctors know what they’re talking about.  However, doctors are human, like everyone else, and they do make mistakes.  We must decide for ourselves how much information we want to get about any particular procedure or test.

In line with this, I thought my readers might be interested to know a little more about the history of anesthesia.  Enjoy!
The date of the first operation under anesthetic, Oct. 16, 1846, ranks among the most iconic in the history of medicine. It was the moment when Boston, and indeed the United States, first emerged as a world-class center of medical innovation. The room at the heart of Massachusetts General Hospital where the operation took place has been known ever since as the Ether Dome, and the word “anesthesia” itself was coined by the Boston physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes to denote the strange new state of suspended consciousness that the city’s physicians had witnessed. The news from Boston swept around the world, and it was recognized within weeks as a moment that had changed medicine forever.But what precisely was invented that day? Not a chemical – the mysterious substance used by William Morton, the local dentist who performed the procedure, turned out to be simply ether, a volatile solvent that had been in common use for decades. And not the idea of anesthesia – ether, and the anesthetic gas nitrous oxide, had both been thoroughly inhaled and explored. As far back as 1525, the Renaissance physician Paracelsus had recorded that it made chickens “fall asleep, but wake up again after some time without any bad effect,” and that it “extinguishes pain” for the duration.  What the great moment in the Ether Dome really marked was something less tangible but far more significant: a huge cultural shift in the idea of pain. Operating under anesthetic would transform medicine, dramatically expanding the scope of what doctors were able to accomplish. What needed to change first wasn’t the technology – that was long since established – but medicine’s readiness to use it.
How does this apply to the acceptance of music during surgery?  I’ll let you draw the parallels because I think it is fairly self-evident.  Music has been used in medical settings for centuries.  Evidence of this can be found easily by simply Googling “history of music in medicine.”  Music is one of the most ancient and powerful of medical/healing interventions.  But those of us who believe this fervently must get the word out to our doctors and have proof in hand.  My blogs and my websites are filled with the facts and the documentation you need.  If you want more, just email me through the blog or through my website, www.HealingMusicEnterprises.com.