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What Is Anesthesia?

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JCole View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 Sep 2009 at 9:11am
What Is Anesthesia?

Anesthesia, absence of physical sensation in part or all of the body. The term more commonly refers to a reversible condition that is induced using anesthetic drugs. These drugs may be injected, inhaled, or applied directly to the surface of the body. Each year about 40 million patients in the United States receive anesthetic drugs for surgery, obstetrics, dentistry, or other medical procedures. Induced anesthesia may be local, involving only part of the body, or general, involving lack of sensation in the entire body as well as a loss of consciousness. Localized anesthesia can also be a result of natural causes, such as nerve injury, leprosy, or diabetes. The lack of sensation caused by these conditions is not easily reversible, and patients’ unawareness of pain and other sensations can put them at risk of serious harm. This article focuses on induced anesthesia used in medical procedures.

Contributed By:
Monica Winefryde Furlong, M.B., Ch.B., M.D.
Attending Anesthesiologist, Beth Israel Medical
Center North, New York, NY.
Author of Going Under: Preparing Yourself for Anesthesia.



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