BENEFITS OF CONSCIOUS SEDATION (LOCAL ANAESTHESIA AND IV SEDATION)
OVER GENERAL ANAESTHESIA
- quicker recovery
- less pain
- less nausea/sickness
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS SEDATION
The aim of sedation is to make you comfortable, totally relaxed and safe during a procedure. Administration of the sedatives and analgesia results in you becoming drowsy and sleepy, pain free, and probably amnesic such that you will have very little recollection of the procedure. Communication is possible if necessary during the operation because even though you are completely relaxed and unconcerned, you are not completely unconscious at any point in time.
Your vital signs e.g. blood pressure, breathing, pulse rate etc are monitored throughout the procedure to ensure your safety and an Anaesthetist will stay with you all the time. Recovery after sedation is much faster than with general anaesthesia. The same applies for the side effect profile e.g. nausea and vomiting, headaches, muscle pains, sore throats, which is much less than with general anaesthesia – in fact very few patients experience any side effects at all. For these reasons patient satisfaction is very high after conscious sedation. Conscious sedation is achieved with intravenous agents (e.g. benzodiazepines, opiates, other sedative/ anaesthetics) usually administered into a vein).
HOW DOES SEDATION DIFFER FROM GENERAL ANAESTHESIA
The main differences between conscious sedation and general anaesthesia is the level of consciousness, safety and side effects.
- Level of consciousness: with conscious sedation the patient is drowsy, comfortable, sleepy and relaxed, but remains conscious. Patients can be roused by verbal communication if necessary. With general anaesthesia the patient is completely unresponsive and cannot be roused by verbal communication.
- Safety: with conscious sedation the required dose of drug is low and the patient is still in control of major reflex functions such as breathing. With general anaesthesia the higher doses of drugs renders the patient unconscious who then loses these reflexes which are then maintained artificially. Higher doses of drugs administered with general anaesthesia are associated with higher risks.
- Side effects: due to the lower dose of sedative/anaesthetics the frequency of side effects is minimal when compared to general anaesthesia where the side effect profile is much more substantial.
- Post-operative pain: in addition to the quicker and less painful recovery from anaesthesia, patient with conscious sedation experience less symptoms such as nausea and vomiting; this means that these patients require less post-operative medication and can home fully mobile on the same day.