Going into the hospital for surgery can be a scary experience. While the surgery is necessary, you're likely a bit apprehensive about being put under anesthesia for the operation. This is completely normal, and you should not feel at all embarrassed for any anxiety or worry you feel in the days leading up to your surgery. However, you can often ease some of that concern by learning a bit more about surgery in general. Here are four things that are nice to know beforehand.
Not all surgeries require you to be put to sleep.
People often assume they'll be fully put under for surgery, but this is not always the case. Many surgeries are performed with local or regional anesthesia. This means the area to be operated on is numb, but you're left awake. You will generally be given a sedative to calm you, but you'll still be somewhat aware. Don't assume you'll be fully put under for your surgery unless your surgeon specifically stated you'll receive general anesthesia — that's the kind that puts you to sleep.
These days, surgeons use computers and robotics for greater precision.
Some surgeries are still performed traditionally with a scalpel and other handheld tools, but most are now performed with robots or computer-guided instruments. This is important because computers and robots are far more precise than even the steadiest hand, so there are less likely to be errors.
Surgeons have strict protocols to avoid accidents and mistakes.
Maybe you've heard stories of people having surgical instruments left inside them, or of people having the wrong limb operated on. This may have happened on very rare occasions in the past, but surgeons have since created very strict protocols to prevent these accidents. They have rituals of accounting for every instrument before suturing a patient up. They have numerous checklists to go through to ensure nothing is ignored or forgotten. The chances of something like this happening to you are very, very low.
Surgery is performed by a team.
Yes, there will be a head surgeon who oversees the procedure and carries out most of the intricate work. But there will also be an anesthesiologist in the room to oversee your anesthesia, whether local or general. Depending on the procedure, there may be an additional surgeon or two there to assist. And there will be surgical nurses and assistants, too. This should bring you comfort knowing that a whole team is working together to help you.
Hopefully, this information has helped you feel a little more comfortable with surgery. Thanks to today's technology, knowledge, and information, you're safer than ever. For more information, contact a general surgeon.