ANESTHESIA

By definition, anesthesia is the “loss of bodily sensation with or without loss of consciousness”. This means the putting of a patient into a pain free state either by using “local” injectable anesthesia or “general” anesthesia. The “general” anesthesia can be administered either by injection or by gas. The medical advances that have occurred in the last century are truly remarkable. There is no better example of this than the various anesthetics available to the medical and veterinary medical professions. Ether was primarily used before a whole new category of anesthetics known as barbiturates was discovered, each with major risks and disadvantages. It wasn’t until “local” and “inhalant anesthesia” was introduced that the “risk factor” of anesthesia for major surgical procedures declined substantially. What has changed in the last 50 years is the refinement of anesthesia and the equipment to administer it. Today, we have complete control of the level of anesthesia, depth of anesthesia and length of anesthesia. We utilize all electronic equipment available to us, such as respiratory and cardiac monitors, pulse oximeters and sophisticated anesthesia machines that mix the anesthesia with oxygen. As a result, depending upon the surgery, dentristy, etc. that is performed, we can discharge the patient hours after the procedure is completed. Years ago we kept the patient in confinement for 1-5 days, depending on the procedure. Today, sophisticated pain killers are administered and the patient is discharged. BUT, what has not changed, is the ability of the body to heal quickly. The patient still needs time and rest to heal. Sutures do not heal, they only hold tissue together, so the tissue must still heal by natural means. Minimal physical exercise, rest and time is a must. Please follow your veterinarians post anesthesia/surgery recommendations.