Worried about the potential risks of being put under anaesthetic? These 5 common misconceptions busted will show you what you can realistically expect.
Unsplash: Ibrahim Boran, https://unsplash.com/photos/pV5arhEZHiA
Most of us will be pretty scared about having to go through surgery. Not only is the white coat environment frightening enough, but being wheeled into a surgical room and plied with chemicals to put us to sleep is a scary thought.
What really adds to this fear we tend to harbour is the many misconceptions we might have about anaesthesia. Whether these myths have come from television, horror stories, or our own imagination, it’s no wonder we have the wrong idea about it all.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to break down the five most common misconceptions of anaesthesia. This way, you can be a bit more informed about the real risks of anaesthesia, and whether they’re something to really worry about. Take a look…
Misconception 1: Anaesthesia Goes Wrong Often
There are a number of potential ways that anaesthesia can be administered wrong, causing adverse effects on the patient. These can include:
- Failure to acknowledge potential allergic reactions
- Being given the wrong dosage
- Anaesthesia wearing off before surgery is complete
- Having too much administered, causing brain damage
In reality, however, anaesthesiologists go through an extensive amount of training to be able to properly calculate the dosage of anaesthesia and ensure the above doesn’t happen. This calculation is based on the patient’s previous medical history, their height and weight, and more. Then, they will administer more or less throughout the surgery, depending on how the patient’s body reacts as they go.
Of course, there is always a risk that it could go wrong, but this is rare, and is usually more apparent in people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, research shows that just 4 in 1,000,000 cases of anaesthesia result in death.
For more information about what actions you can take if you do experience anaesthesia gone wrong, you can speak to a medical negligence solicitor, here: https://medicalnegligencesolicitorsireland.ie
Misconception 2: The Anaesthesiologist Will Leave the Room
We’re so used to medical dramas on television that we fail to remember that these shows aren’t 100 percent accurate. Although on TV you might see just surgeons in the room, the truth is that the anaesthesiologist will be present throughout the entire operation.
Because of this, our first misconception is often avoided. This is because the anaesthesiologist will be able to monitor the patient’s heart rate and vitals to adjust the anaesthesia levels throughout.
Unsplash: JAFAR AHMED, https://unsplash.com/photos/E285pJbC4uE
Misconception 3: Anaesthesiologists Are Not Physicians
The hierarchy within the medical world, and again in medical TV shows, gives many lay people the idea that an anaesthesiologist isn’t a doctor and is less qualified than one. Of course, this is true to a certain extent, as anaesthesiologists will have different training than, for example, a surgeon.
That said, anaesthesiology is just as much a field of medicine as gynaecology, oncology, and the like. It takes 12 to 14 years of education to become a licensed anaesthesiologist, which just goes to show the level of seriousness this role is treated with.
Misconception 4: The Patient Will Remember Parts of the Surgery
According to Dr. Leena Mathew, there is a common misconception that you will wake up during surgery, and remember what happened afterwards. However, under general anaesthesia, Dr. Mathew states that it is extremely rare for a patient to wake up during surgery.
General anaesthesia consists of a number of different agents, including a paralytic, which is used to stop the muscles from reacting to the surgery. You might hear stories of a patient waking up, and being aware of what’s happening to them without being able to feel anything.
However, as we’ve mentioned before, this is extremely rare; less than 0.5 percent of cases. This is because the anaesthesiologist will usually become aware of this happening through monitoring the patient’s vitals.
They are trained to notice when this is happening and will be able to administer other agents through gas or intravenous administration. This will aim to put the patient in a deeper state of anaesthesia to avoid them waking up mid-surgery.
Misconception 5: Anaesthesia Risk Levels Are All the Same
It’s completely natural to think that you’ll be that unlucky person that has a bad reaction to the anaesthesia. That being said, the risk levels of being administered with anaesthetic vary depending on a number of factors. These might include:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Smoking and drinking
In fact, the risk of mortality from it will normally depend on a number of the above factors put together.
Your doctor will be able to give you a full rundown of what your personal risks are with regards to the anaesthetic. Once you’re informed of these risks, you can then make a decision, alongside your doctor, about what the next step is for you.
Unsplash: Ibrahim Boran, https://unsplash.com/photos/zsKFQs2kDpM
Ready to Bust the Myths of Anaesthesia?
As you can tell, there are a number of misconceptions out there about anaesthesia that simply aren’t true. The truth is that, although you might assume you will be the one to be affected by it, the statistics show otherwise.
Of course, that’s not to say that you won’t, which is why being informed of the risks is paramount before you dive right into surgery.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. For more information about your own personal risks when it comes to anaesthesia, you should speak to your doctor.
Disclaimer: Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.