What is Anaesthesia?

Anaesthesia is a term with which most people are familiar, whether through actually being in the medical field or through media like newspapers, books and most popularly, medical dramas. Generally, people are aware of what is the major effect of Anaesthesia as popularised by the sources mentioned above but this article will provide in-depth information on this topic so people can improve their understanding of it.

Meaning of the Term

The term Anaesthesia refers to a state of insensitivity to pain caused by the administration of drugs called anaesthetics. It is a way to prevent the patient from feeling pain, mostly during surgeries. This state can also be induced in cases like patients with conditions that cause acute pain. Women undergoing labour are also put under anaesthesia for the same reason.

There are different kinds of Anaesthesia, namely, General, Regional and Local anaesthesia, as well as Sedation. All of them have different effects on a patient’s body and consciousness. They are administered by trained physicians called Anaesthetists. Dr Anthony is one of the Specialist Anaesthetists in Melbourne.

Effect of Anaesthesia

As mentioned above, the general effects of anaesthesia on a patient’s mind and body are as small as mere numbness to as big as temporary loss of consciousness. The effect depends on the type of anaesthesia used as well as the dose of anaesthetics administered. Here are the above-mentioned four kinds of Anaesthesia and the effects associated with them.

1.   General Anaesthesia

It works on the entire body by causing the patient to be unconscious. This results in total insensitivity to pain and the patient can undergo medical procedures without having to experience any pain or discomfort. The effects last even after the patient is awake, making them drowsy, and the Anaesthetist helps the patient recover from it. This type of anaesthesia is used for invasive and/or time-consuming surgeries.

2.   Regional Anaesthesia

This type of Anaesthesia causes numbness in a particular area of the body. A cluster of nerves in a large part of the body is numbed so that section can be operated upon. This type of anaesthesia is used during childbirth, surgeries on the knee or hip, etc.

3.   Local Anaesthesia

It is used to block pain in a small region of the body. Dental procedures, cataract surgeries and minor skin operations are performed using this type of anaesthesia.

4.   Sedation

Sedation is also referred to as “twilight”. It is a light sleep induced by anaesthetics under the care of the Anaesthetist and nurses. It is used during bone realignment, endoscopy, colonoscopy, etc.

Administration of Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia can be administered through intravenous drugs, inhalation of certain gases or application of a liquid, patch or spray onto the skin.

Risks Associated with Anaesthesia

There are certain risks that come with using anaesthesia on certain patients. For example, patients with prior health conditions which make them vulnerable, stemming more often than not from obesity, are at risk of delayed recovery. Some people who suffer from motion sickness can feel nauseous from it. Too much Anaesthesia may even be fatal but an Anaesthetist ensures that the patient remains safe while under the effects of it.


By now, you must have a fairly good idea of what exactly Anaesthesia is and what it does. It does not just put people to sleep, as largely believed. It has various other uses and is essential for medical procedures.