An anaesthetic is a drug to prevent pain and discomfort during tests and surgery. Anaesthesia means ‘loss of sensation’ and medications that cause anaesthesia are called anaesthetics. Anaesthetics are categorized into two classes:
General Anaesthetics: cause a reversible loss of consciousness, often used for more serious operations.
Local Anaesthetics: cause a reversible loss of sensation for a limited region of the body while maintaining consciousness, often used during minor procedures.
An anaesthetic can be given in several ways such as a spray, injection or as a gas.
Anaesthetists are doctors who are responsible for a patient’s safety and wellbeing during a medical procedure. Before a procedure they will discuss the types of anaesthetic appropriate as well as any risks or side effects associated with different types of anaesthetic
You should ask your anaesthetist to clarify anything you're unsure about.
Anaesthetics can cause side effects in some people. An Anaesthetist will discuss any side effects with a patient that may be experienced after a procedure. These can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Headache and dizziness
- General aches and pains
- Feeling cold and shivering
- Itchiness, bruising and soreness