3 Things to consider if you’re going under general anesthesia

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RecoverySliderAre you having surgery sometime soon?  Are you concerned about going under general anesthesia because you’ve heard that general anesthesia is dangerous?   General anesthesia is probably safer than it’s ever been.  There is certainly a direct correlation between the amount of anesthesia a person needs, and the speed with which they recover.   If you have had a previous bad experience with anesthesia or are elderly, frail, or red-headed (yes, redheads react very differently to anesthesia!), OR, if you’re just a little anxious, then there are few basic facts you should know.

  1.  Ask your doctor if you absolutely need general anesthesia.  Many procedures can be done under a regional block or even local anesthesia.  But if you’re having open-heart surgery or other surgeries that require general anesthesia, then find other ways to reduce the amount, like supplementing with slow, steady, soothing music.
  2. Your chances of dying under general anesthesia are 11-16 per 100,000 and much does depend on the age and general level of health of the patient before the procedure.  The anesthesiologist is closely monitoring every aspect of your body rhythms and levels and has many ways of keeping you safe.
  3.  If you can meet with the anesthesiology team before the procedure, to discuss any concerns or previous surgery issues, or problems related to anesthesia that run in your family, that will let you rest easier.

Anesthesia is administered safely every day around the world, but if you’re having surgery for the first time, or have had a difficult experience with anesthesia in the past, then you want to be as well prepared as possible.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the use of music as an adjunct to anesthesia. Just last August (2015) the esteemed British Journal “The Lancet” published a huge meta-analysis of over 4000 studies on the use of music with surgery.  The overwhelming verdict is that music is a powerful and easy to administer adjunct to anesthesia.  And NOW, the study that was done last year at the VA Hospital here in Louisville, KY, is just about to be published in the International Journal of Anesthesia an Research (IJAR).  Our product is poised to be in every OR on the planet within 10 years and we are working day and night to get the price down to where individuals can afford it, as well as hospitals when they order in bulk.  Surgical Serenity Solutions has created cordless, pre-programmed headphones for the patient to wear, starting pre-surgery and continuing on through surgery and into the recovery room.  To learn more about these and purchase them, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com.  You can reduce the amount of anesthesia required, have a safer procedure, and recover faster.

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Redheads and Anesthesia: There is a difference for them!

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Anesthesia is a tricky thing.  And now that we have the internet you can literally scare yourself to death reading horror stories online about anesthesia mishaps, people who woke up during surgery or patients who had the wrong body part removed.  And now there’s something new to be concerned with.   Are you a redhead?  Are you about to have general anesthesia?  You may have heard that redheads require more anesthesia and after just a little bit of researching, you’ll find that it’s true!  Why?  Here’s what one researcher has to say:

Dr. Daniel I. Sessler, an anesthesiologist and chairman of the department of outcomes research at the Cleveland Clinic, said he began studying hair color after hearing so many colleagues speculate about redheads requiring more anesthesia.

“The reason we studied redheads in the beginning, it was essentially an urban legend in the anesthesia community saying redheads were difficult to anesthetize,” Dr. Sessler said. “This was so intriguing we went ahead and studied it. Redheads really do require more anesthesia, and by a clinically important amount.”

After publishing research on the topic, Dr. Sessler began hearing from redheads who complained about problems with dental pain and fear about going to the dentist. He said that when someone with red hair is considering a dental or other procedure requiring an anesthetic, they should talk to their doctor about the high probability that they are resistant to anesthetics.

“Because they’re resistant, many redheads have had bad experiences,” Dr. Sessler said. “If they go to the dentist or have a cut sutured, they’ll need more local anesthetic than other people.”

One of my redheaded friends was so relieved to hear this because she says now she won’t feel so bad when she tells the dentist that she can still feel what he is doing to her and yes, that she still does need more novocaine!  Hopefully, this will help many redheads to understand why they need more pain relief.

Which brings me to my next point.  If you are a redhead and need to have surgery ,are you concerned that you will require more anesthesia?  Fears about anesthesia include, being given too much anesthesia and not waking up afterwards; being given too little anesthesia and waking up before surgery is finished; being resistant to anesthesia and waking up enough to feel and hear what is happening but not being able to say anything.  Although all of these scenarios are extremely unlikely, they do happen and merit some careful thought about how to proceed.  Be sure to talk with your physician about your options.

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Some Side-effects of Anesthesia are Funny??

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Are you worried about the side-effects of anesthesia?  Obviously, general anesthesia is a powerful chemical process.  As with any kind of anesthesia or surgery, there are serious risks.  That’s why you want to do some careful research on the hospital you go to and who will do the surgery and the anesthesia.  Some are better that others.

The sad case of Joan Rivers, recently, demonstrated that even the smallest procedure must be carefully planned and executed.  Her procedure was quite routine, but something went wrong and she died after being in a coma for 3 or 4 days.  This is a worst-case scenario, but you need to do your research and understand that likely, you will have pain from the incision and nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and possibly short-term memory loss from the anesthesia.

Then there are the side-effects that are actually humorous!  There has been a story on television for the past two days about a young man who had just begun awakening from anesthesia.  (Yes, he did have red hair, and redheads are known to be more susceptible to the effects of anesthesia than non-redheads!)  It’s a charming story because as the guy is waking up, he looks over and his wife, but doesn’t recognize her.  Apparently this sort of thing has happened to him before because his wife doesn’t seem to be too devastated.  But when he turns a gets a good look at her, things get really funny and his wife couldn’t be happier at what comes out of his mouth!  Enjoy!

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