Patient Pain Management and Anesthesia
Oral & Maxillofacial surgery, even for a simple dental extraction, can often involve the use of local and general anesthetics. Anesthetics, which are designed to temporarily eliminate the pain associated with surgery, are an important component of many surgical procedures and are often misunderstood and mischaracterized. Some patients may even find the idea of anesthetics to be anxiety-inducing. However, when administered by a knowledgeable and experienced medical professional like Dr. Navid Senehi, DDS. MD., anesthetics should be no cause for concern.
When most people think of anesthesia, what comes to mind is general anesthesia where the patient is “put under” or put to sleep using strong anesthetics. While general anesthesia is used for major surgeries such as reconstructive jaw surgery and facial surgery for severe trauma victims, milder forms of anesthesia are far more commonly employed. These can include everything from local anesthesia to conscious sedation.
"When administered by a knowledgeable and experienced medical professional, anesthetics should be no cause for concern. "
--- NAVID SENEHI, DDS. MD.
The Role of Anesthesia in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Anesthesia plays a vital role in the successful execution of many surgical operations. Countless procedures would simply be impossible if patients could feel and react to every surgical process. Imagine undergoing a tooth extraction without local anesthetics, it would be painful or practically impossible.
One of the primary roles of anesthesia is to alleviate and control a patient’s pain in order to make the surgical procedure more pain-free. Anesthesia is also used to control consciousness and relax muscles. By controlling the patient’s level of pain, consciousness, and muscular reflexes, surgeons are able to execute the surgical procedure with as little interruptions or complications as possible.
For major surgeries, an anesthesiologist may be present to carefully monitor dosages, patient's level of consciousness, and other critical factors important for a smooth and successful outcome.
In the field of oral & maxillofacial surgery, anesthetics also play a vital role. The face, mouth, and neck are delicate regions of the human body that are extremely sensitive to pain. By utilizing various forms of anesthetics and sedatives, an oral & maxillofacial surgeon can perform essentially painless surgical procedures.
6 Common Types of Anesthesia
Anesthetics are available in a variety of forms and delivery methods, such as sedative oral pills, local injections, or a continuous infusion to name a few. Below are six common types of anesthesia.
General anesthesia is the highest level of anesthesia offered to patients and is typically reserved for major surgeries. Procedures that involve general anesthesia are usually performed in a surgical facility and often require the professional oversight of a licensed anesthesiologist.
Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a region or part of the body, such as below the waist or for an entire arm or leg. Peripheral nerve blocks are commonly employed for facial surgery and are preferred over local anesthetics for some procedures to avoid facial or muscular distortions.
Local anesthetics are a popular solution for surgical pain and are employed in a wide variety of oral & maxillofacial applications. They can be injected or applied topically. Local anesthetics are extremely limited in the size of the area affected and duration, making them less than ideal for procedures that require a lot of time.
While most patients may associate anesthetics with needles and intravenous injections, oral sedatives are perhaps just as common. Anesthetic pills can be taken prior to a maxillofacial procedure to help the patient relax or feel sleepy. Unlike other forms of anesthetics, a patient under the effects of an oral sedative can still react and respond to pain and other stimuli, however, it's a great method to reduce or essentially eliminate anxiety which it will subsequently provide hemodynamic stability prior to initiation of the procedure.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can be administered as an inhalation anesthetic to help patients feel relaxed or in other words care less about what's going on around them. One of the benefits of nitrous oxide is that it does not completely sedate patients, which allows them to remain conscious and be able to respond. Also, its effects are rapidly gone, immediately after the administration of the anesthetic agent is discontinued.
Intravenous (IV) sedation is used to achieve a semi-conscious state in patients known as “twilight sleep” or "twilight zone". While in this state, patients are technically still conscious, although often feel as if they are asleep and rarely remember the procedure. Unlike general anesthesia, which results in complete unconsciousness, IV sedation or conscious sedation can render a patient unaware and free from pain without completely "knocking" them out.
Anesthesia Concerns and Side Effects
Anesthetics administered by a trained and experienced medical professional like Dr. Senehi of Facial & Oral Surgery Institute in Woodland Hills are safe and the effects are well understood and well documented, even if the exact chemical mechanics in some instances have not been completely explained. Modern technological advancements in the field of anesthesiology have dramatically improved the margin of safely with great predictable outcomes.
Anesthesia does have some risks and side effects. Age-related changes in human physiology and hemodynamics make the elderly more susceptible to adverse effects which with careful review and analysis of previous medical history and assessment of the patient's clinical condition could be minimized. Appropriate modifications can be made based on the individual's medical condition in order to provide the best and safest level of anesthesia.
Side effects of anesthesia can include confusion, memory loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, shivering, sleepiness, and mild hoarseness. This is not a comprehensive list, but what many anesthesiologists consider the most common symptoms and side effects.
No Need to Worry With The Right Doctors
While anesthesia can be mildly anxiety-inducing for some, with the right doctors and medical professionals like those at Facial & Oral Surgery Institute, anesthesia can be a major benefit and comfort. It eliminates pain, making otherwise difficult procedures much easier for patients.
When general anesthesia or IV sedation is used, in most instances patients won’t even remember the procedure. The goal is always to help patients relax, manage or eliminate pain, and make the entire process as comfortable as possible.
To learn more about anesthesia for oral and maxillofacial surgery, or dental and cosmetic procedures, it is helpful to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Navid Senehi, DDS. MD. who can assist you with a comprehensive treatment plan, as well as discuss the best anesthesia option for your surgery.
Schedule a consultation today with Dr. Senehi by calling our office at 818-805-0557 or by clicking the Schedule An Appointment button below.
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