What is anaesthesiology and how does it help patients?

Anaesthesiology is a medical speciality that uses medications called anaesthetics to induce sleep or numb a certain area of the body. These medicines temporarily block or reduce the feeling of pain and other sensations, allowing patients to undergo surgery or other medical procedures safely and comfortably.

There are several different forms of anaesthesia, including general anaesthesia, sedation, and regional anaesthesia. The type of anaesthetic used will be decided by your anaesthesiologist. Depending on your individual circumstances as well as your planned procedure, your anaesthesiologist will give you either a local anaesthetic, a general anaesthetic or an epidural.

A local anaesthetic is when a particular area of the body is numbed. This allows you to remain awake throughout the procedure, but free from pain. This is usually only used for minor procedures.

A general anaesthetic is a stronger type of medicine and will put you into a temporary state of unconsciousness. This type of approach is used for surgeries, and usually requires a tube to be inserted into your airway to support your breathing.

Epidural anaesthesia is a type of anaesthesia that is also referred to as spinal anaesthesia. It involves injections into the spine to numb the lower half of the body, and is often used in childbirth or where operations are done on the lower limbs.

Sedation is the use of analgesic and/or sedative drugs to lower a patient’s level of consciousness to induce calm. Sedation refers more to a deep sleep, whereas general anesthesia refers to a temporary state of unconsciousness. Sedation will be used for minor procedures, while general anaesthesia will be used for longer, more complex surgeries.

In addition, sedation can also be an effective way to calm and reassure children and other anxious patients through a variety of medical procedures that do not require advanced anaesthetic medication.

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When do you need to see an anaesthesiologist?

If an anaesthesiologist is needed for a particular surgery or procedure, they will always consult with you first regarding the type of anaesthetic that will be used. This may be determined by various factors such as the type and location of the procedure, your health and medical history, and the length of the procedure. They will explain the process to you to make sure you feel comfortable with what they will be doing.

Your anaesthesiologist will usually ask you a number of questions about your health and when last you ate any food, or drank any fluids. This is to ensure they administer the correct type of medication, and that you remain safe throughout the procedure.

For example, if you are having surgery on your knee, the anesthesiologist may give you spinal anaesthesia, which numbs a patient’s chest, abdomen, and legs. For a less invasive procedure, the anaesthesiologist may use local anaesthesia.

In addition to assisting patients through delicate operations safely using specialized techniques, an anaesthesiologist aims to control patients’ pain and monitor their bodies’ responses to the anaesthesia following medical procedures. Your anaesthesiologist will discuss these with you and your loved ones prior to your procedure, and you are welcome to ask any questions before and after your medical procedure.

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Why you should consider our anaesthesiologists in Singapore

The medical staff and specialists at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre aim to provide you with a high level of care and support in a pleasant, safe environment. With decades of experience and the latest technology available to us, we are able to provide provide professional and efficient care for patients of all ages.

Major Areas of Specialisation

Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre’s highly qualified anesthesiologists provide clinical anaesthesia, sedation, and pain management to all patients where necessary. Our anaesthesiologists are experienced in the following areas:

  • Clinical anaesthesia
    • Local anesthesia (numbing the part of the body being operated on)
    • Epidural anaesthesia (commonly used to help labour pain)
    • Spinal anaesthesia (numbing from chest/abdomen level down to legs)
    • Nerve blocks
    • Paediatric Anaesthesia
  • Pain Management
    • Acute pain service
    • Inpatient and outpatient care
  • Sedation
  • Surgical intensive care

Did you know?

The practice of using anaesthesia began to spread in 1846 when an American surgeon named John Collins Warren publicly demonstrated that a colourless liquid called ether could put patients to sleep, for a surgeon to perform minor surgical procedures.