Anesthesia plays a vital role in the medical field, particularly in dentistry, where it has been demonstrated to be safe. However, the amount of anesthesia required can vary from person to person. Here are some intriguing facts about anesthesia that you might not be aware of:
- Anesthesia awareness, a phenomenon where a patient wakes up during surgery despite being under anesthesia, is possible but extremely rare. The American Society of Anesthesiologists states that it occurs in only 1 or 2 out of every 1,000 general anesthesia-related procedures. When this happens, patients briefly regain consciousness and may be aware of their surroundings and the ongoing procedure. However, they typically do not experience pain.
- A study from the University of Toronto School of Medicine, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in November 2014, found that general anesthesia might cause memory loss lasting for days or even months. The research revealed that 37% of young adults and 41% of older patients reported postoperative memory problems after leaving the hospital. Although anesthesia may not be the sole cause of this memory loss, it is believed to contribute to it, alongside factors like inflammation or stress from the surgery.
- Anesthesiologists have long observed that smokers often require more anesthesia than non-smokers. A preliminary study presented at the 2015 European Society of Anaesthesiology meeting in Berlin supported this observation, finding that female smokers needed 33% more anesthesia than female non-smokers during surgery. Additionally, those exposed to secondhand smoke required 20% more anesthesia. Another finding from this study was that both groups of smokers needed more pain relief after the procedure.