How Anesthesia Revolutionized Medicine

How Anesthesia Revolutionized Medicine

In a modern theater, a patient is typically put under drugs to make them unconscious, because the pain involved in the procedure is intolerable. The discovery of general anesthesia alleviated the pain and risks that patients had to put up with during the ancient times. This article explores the medical revolution as brought forth by the administration of newer anesthetics techniques.


History of General Anesthesia


The historical accounts of the advancements in general anesthesia can be found in ancient Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Roman, Indian, and Chinese writings. The 19th century saw significant improvements in surgical technics, albeit surgery was the last resort. Conscious without a pain reliever, patients felt excruciating pain.


It wasn’t the patients who had to put up with the pain. Surgeons also experienced great anxiety and distress. Practitioners would sporadically shed tears and even throw up after conducting a somewhat gruesome procedure.


Such experiences compelled scientists to come up with new improvements in anesthetics and antiseptics. For instance; in 1842, Crawford W Long performed a neck-tumor surgery using ether as the anesthetic. Many other discoveries ensued, and by 1884, Carl Koller discovered cocaine to be a viable alternative.


Anesthesia and Consciousness


As data has it, for every 1000 patients, one or two will have had surgery while conscious. A story is told of a woman who had to undergo a hysterectomy. The doctors managed to induce unconsciousness. All was going well until the drug stopped working and she gained consciousness and could not perform simple reflexes like breathing.


Administering general anesthesia is a tightrope walk. For the few whose anesthetization goes wrong, there’s barely a preventative measure because a successful procedure requires complete unconsciousness. The tricky part is that consciousness isn’t a measurable thing.


However, to measure the success of an anesthetic technique, there are tools used. Inhaled anesthesia calls for nothing more than traditional methods. The dilemma with anesthetization come in because it’s hard to understand how anesthetics work on a neurological basis, and it’s challenging to make out how the brain creates consciousness.


Monitoring Pain Using Anesthesia


In theaters around the globe, anesthetic providers make inferences about your neurological response to the drug based on the data from the cardiovascular system, even though general anesthetics target the brain. Studies show that induced unconsciousness is linked with a reduction of the direct connection between the anterior and posterior structures of the brain. Thus, impaired feedback communication between the frontal and cortex to parietal structures as caused by an anesthetic drug is known to cause unconsciousness.


Despite the significant advances in the administration of anesthetics, even after two centuries, there still lies a mystery about how anesthetics affect the neurobiological setup. Regardless, times have changed, and patients no longer have to feel the knife nibbling against the bone consciously.

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