A Comparative Analysis of Local Anesthesia Drugs, General Anesthesia, and Sedatives
Local anesthesia drugs, general anesthetics, and sedatives are the three main types of anesthetics used in modern-day surgeries and medical operations. Each type of anesthetic has its own benefits and disadvantages, and doctors decide upon the type of anesthetic drug to be administered depending upon the nature of the medical procedure. With advancements in medical sector, local anesthesia drugs developed today have very little side effects on the patient’s body.
It’s hard to comprehend modern-day surgeries without anesthetics. Anesthesia can be considered as a temporary and controlled loss of sensation and numbness that is purposefully induced to reduce the excruciating pain associated with surgeries and medical operations. Anesthetics are nothing but drugs which when administered result in a state of anesthesia and are mainly of three types- general anesthetics, local or regional anesthetics, and sedatives. While all the three types perform the basic function of suppressing the central nervous system, there are certain factors which decide whether general anesthesia is necessary, or local anesthesia drugs are sufficient.
Local Anesthesia Drugs V. General Anesthesia V. Sedatives
Local anesthesia drugs or regional anesthesia, as the name suggests, are used by medical practitioners to numb a specific part of the patient’s body. As a result of its administration, the nerves of that specific part or organ stop sending the pain signals to the brain. This nerve suppression helps in reducing the pain experienced by the patient while undergoing the medical procedure. Local anesthesia drugs are generally given in cases when the surgery is minor, and it is sufficient to relax the muscles of that specified part.
A patient when administered local anesthesia doesn’t lose consciousness. This is one major reason why doctors opt of local anesthesia over general anesthesia because certain complications might make it difficult to bring the patient back to consciousness. Increasing number of chronic illnesses, growing need for surgeries, and resulting increase in the adoption of local anesthesia drugs is one of the major factors expected to cause a surge in the global local anesthesia drugs market by 2031. Also, one major advantage of local anesthesia drugs over general anesthesia is that there is a very low risk of side effects which make doctors choose local anesthetics.
General anesthetic, on the contrary, is given when the surgery is a major one and it is imperative that the patient remains unconscious during the operation. In certain surgeries involving vital organs, such as open-heart surgery, liver transplant surgery, etc., it becomes necessary to numb the nerve cells and weaken the sensation of the complete body. Additionally, in general anesthesia, even the breathing muscles of the body are sort of paralyzed which is why external breathing devices become necessary for the patient. Though the risk of side effects of general anesthesia is somewhat greater as compared to local anesthesia drugs, the nature of serious medical operations makes general anesthesia indispensable. In fact, certain medical surgeries are simply impossible to perform without administering general anesthesia as the pain associated with them would be unbearable for the patient and would kill him/her instantly. General anesthesia also gives an added advantage; the unconsciousness induced due to it generally lasts for 24 hours which gives doctors enough time to perform complex medical treatments with relative ease without worrying about time.
Sedative can be thought of as an intermediate between general anesthesia and local anesthesia drugs; they are administered when local anesthesia would be insufficient while general anesthesia would be unnecessary. Sedatives essentially induce drowsiness and a relaxing feeling for the patient. Sedation, also called twilight sleep, is when the patient is more or less awake during the entire surgery but unable to comprehend or make sense of what’s going on. While local anesthesia drugs are used in case of dental procedures, biopsies, wound sutures, etc., sedatives are given while performing slightly complicated procedures such as facelifts, scar revisions, rhinoplasty, etc.
It is apparent from the above discussion that administration of a specific type of anesthesia is directly related to the nature of medical procedure. Over the years, with advancements in the medical sector high quality local anesthesia drugs such as benzocaine, procaine, tetracaine, bupivacaine, etc., have been developed which have minimum side effects on the patient’s body. Nevertheless, it is important for the patient to disclose his/her true medical history to the doctor so that the doctor can decide on the appropriate anesthetic to be administered.
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