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Anesthesiology/General Anesthesia fear

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QUESTION: I am going to have to get my D&C done. I am not scared of the procedure but the general anesthesia and not knowing when I will wake up.
My fear is what if I do not wake up or if my brain refuses to wake up due to some unknown. You can say its the fear of unknown as I have never had anesthesia.

How long do they keep a patient under anesthesia in an D&C procedure?

Will that depend on how long the D&C takes?

If my D&C is done in 15 mins will they start to wake me up immediately?

How does a patient wake up from anesthesia? Is it automatically or is she/he given some drug to wake up?

I do not have any known health problems except for thyroid ?(TSH 3.5) and that I am naturally a low blood pressure person (close to 85/60)

Please answer my queries.

Thanks for your help!
Vivek

ANSWER: If you are otherwise healthy, then you should have no fear of the anesthesia. Your chances for any significant complications from the anesthesia is less than getting struck by lightning twice in the same day. In any case, here are the answers to your questions.


How long do they keep a patient under anesthesia in an D&C procedure?
  We keep you under until the procedure is over.

Will that depend on how long the D&C takes?
  No. If the D and C takes 15 min or 8 hours (never does), you will be asleep the whole time and wake up immediately after.

If my D&C is done in 15 mins will they start to wake me up immediately?
  Actually we start just before they finish but you won't wake up until they are done.

How does a patient wake up from anesthesia? Is it automatically or is she/he given some drug to wake up?
  It is different for everyone and depends on a number of factors including weight, length of surgery, etc. It is automatic. Once we turn off the gas, you start the process of waking up. We occasionally give medicines but not to make you wake up.

I do not have any known health problems except for thyroid ?(TSH 3.5) and that I am naturally a low blood pressure person (close to 85/60).
  Then you have nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps,


Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology
UTMB-Galveston

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your prompt reply and help.I am 37, 5'3" weighing 123lbs. Generally healthy.
So is that normal and safe for General anesthesia?
What if I do not want to inhale the gas but want an IV instead? As I am very claustrophobic.Thought of inhaler freakes me out
Is it the same amount of anesthesia for inhaling as well as IV?
Can I tell the anesthesiologist my preference? Or does it depend on what procedure I am getting done?
Please let me know.

Thank you so much! Doctors like yourself are doing such a fantastic job by answering questions to people like me.
It helps many fold!
Vivek

Answer
Yes, that is safe. You will be put to sleep with the IV. Only then will you get the gas. But remember that they will put a mask on your face (with Oxygen) while they are giving you the IV meds. This allows your lungs to fill with Oxygen before you go to sleep. The anesthesiologist will explain the process to you and you can explain your fears at that time.


Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology
UTMB-Galveston

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Ronald Levy, M.D.

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Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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