Anaesthesia, from the Greek “anaisthêsia”, “insensitivity”, is the medical science which addresses the treatment of pain before, during and after a surgical operation, as well as during childbirth. It is a patient’s basic right not to suffer, and we take to heart to ensure that each patient is provided with appropriate pain control.

Different kinds of anaesthesia

There are three kinds of anaesthesia:

General anaesthesia, or narcosis, has three types of impact on the patient’s consciousness: sleep (loss of consciousness), analgesia, (loss of pain) and curarization, (muscle relaxation).

Loco-regional anaesthesia temporarily removes the sensitivity of a part of the body, as for example with an epidural injection. It is also possible to intervene more selectively, e.g. by anesthetizing only an arm or a leg.

Finally, there is a local anaesthesia, given by injecting the nervous system of the area to be operated upon.

As for the anaesthetic substances themselves, there are various kinds which can be combined and adapted to each case. During an operation, the anaesthesia (used throughout) is constantly monitored and adapted to eliminate any risk of waking up inappropriately. Towards the end of the operation, the anaesthesia is modified to anticipate post-operative recovery and to pre-empt any possible side-effects (such as nausea or vomiting).

At the Hôpital de La Tour, the patient, together with the anaesthesiologist, decides on the type of anaesthesia. This occurs during the preoperative examination, taking into account the patient’s health and the nature of operation. Whenever possible, both surgeons and anaesthesiologists prefer loco-regional anaesthesia, as it has less impact on the physiology of the patient.

In addition as it can be prolonged, it can reduce or eliminate post-operative pain, which promotes a full and rapid return to health.

Owing to their mission of managing pain, anaesthetists work closely with all other departments and services of the hospital, such as surgery, radiology, maternity, intensive care, emergency medicine etc.

Last modified on December 15th, 2015.

Unless specified otherwise, this text has been written by the editorial team.

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