Anaesthetics are medicines used during tests and surgical operations to numb sensation in certain areas of the body or induce sleep.
This prevents pain and discomfort, and enables a wide range of medical procedures to be carried out.
Anaesthetists are doctors who have received specialist training in anaesthesia. They'll give you your anaesthetic and be responsible for your safety and wellbeing during your procedure.
Before the procedure, your anaesthetist will discuss a number of things with you, including:
- The types of anaesthetic appropriate for the procedure you're having
- Any risks or side effects associated with different types of anaesthetic
They'll plan your anaesthetic and pain control with you, taking into account any preferences you have for a particular type of anaesthetic. You should ask your anaesthetist to clarify anything you're unsure about.
Your anaesthetist will carefully monitor you throughout your operation and make sure you wake up comfortably afterwards. They may also help with any pain relief you might need after the procedure.
Types of anaesthesia
There are three kinds of anaesthesia that we may use during a procedure
General anaesthesia is where you're totally unconscious and unaware of the procedure. This is often used for more serious operations.
Local anaesthesia is where a small area of your body is numbed and your remain fully awake during your procedure.
Sedation is medicine that makes you feel sleepy and relaxes you both physically and mentally, It's sometimes used to keep you calm during minor, painful, or unpleasant procedures.
Dr Rajesh Jain, Consultant Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, Divisional Director of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care
Dr Sharon Burke, Consultant Anaesthesia, clinical co-lead of anaesthesia
Dr Joanna Umo-Etuk, Consultant Anaesthesia, clinical co-lead of anasthesia and lead for acute and chronic pain