Anaesthesia in Ambulatory Surgery
General anaesthesia plays a major role in not only producing loss of consciousness but pain relief management as well. Specialist anaesthetists like Dr. Rowan Molnar who is currently Head of Discipline, Anaesthesia, at the University of Tasmania Clinical School (Launceston Campus) and Staff Specialist Anaesthetist at Launceston General Hospital stresses the role of anaesthesia in ambulatory surgery.
Focus on patient needs
Several patients who undergo diagnostic tests or surgery are not required to stay overnight at a hospital. In such cases, anaesthesia plays an important role. According to Dr. Rowan Molnar, one of Australasia's leading commentators on "Creative Disruption in Medicine and Healthcare", ambulatory anaesthesia is designed to meet the needs of outpatient surgery and therefore requires the use of specialized anaesthetic techniques. In addition, care must be focused on the needs of the patient to make the process safe and convenient with the least amount of anxiety for the patient. Prior to any ambulatory surgery, the anaesthesiologist conducts a thorough evaluation of the patient’s health status and may order laboratory tests and review of other medical record.
Types of Anaesthetic Techniques
There are several types of anaesthetic techniques used in ambulatory surgery. This includes local anaesthesia where only a specific area to be operated is made numb. On the other hand, general anaesthesia makes the patient unconscious throughout the surgical procedure. The anaesthetist may also recommend regional anaesthesia to produce numbness around the nerves corresponding to the surgical procedure. In some cases, patients receive pain medication and sedatives intravenously and through injections of local anaesthesia into the skin to allow for additional pain control during and after the surgical procedure. The anaesthesiologist will continue to monitor vital body functions during the ambulatory surgery.
Post operative care
After the surgery, patients are taken to the post-anaesthesia care unit or recovery room where the anaesthesiologist will direct the monitoring and administration of medications to allow for a safe recovery. Specially trained nurses monitor recovery for around 30 minutes to an hour following which the anaesthesiologist will determine when it is safe to be discharged. Most patients experience slight discomfort and nausea or vomiting depending on the type of surgery for which pain relievers are usually prescribed. However, due to improved anaesthetic agents and techniques, some of these side effects are less of an issue today.