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National Anaesthesia Day – the difference between local & general

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

One of the most asked questions we get from our patients is regarding the difference between local and general anaesthetic.

Local anaesthetic is given to a patient when the site being operated on is quite minor, for example the cutting out of skin cancers or maybe stitches. When a local anaesthetic is used, it is inserted into the area to be operated upon and will numb this area only. A patient is awake when this anaesthetic is used, however be comfortable and will feel no pain. If a patient is nervous, the anaesthetist may give you a drug to make you feel relaxed and drowsy.

General anaesthetic is a stronger anaesthetic and this will put a patient in a state of unconsciousness. General anaesthetic is given when a patient is being operated on for more major surgeries, a surgery where it is best that the patient be kept in an unconscious state. A general anaesthetic needs to be inserted directly into the vein to be effective.
This year is the first year of National Anaesthesia Day and is being launched all across Australia and New Zealand. The idea of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that anaesthesia is safe and that the anaesthetist is a highly skilled doctor with more than 10 years of medical training.

According to a study carried out by Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists:

– Only 50% of people are aware that anaesthetists are doctors
– 50% of people don’t feel very informed about anaesthesia
– 3 out of 10 people are concerned about undergoing general anaesthesia
– 30% of people gather their anaesthesia information from medical shows

The aim of National Anaesthesia Day is to raise awareness about the myths and facts of anaesthesia. National Anaesthesia Day is on Wednesday October 16. For further information on anaesthesia and the types of anaesthesia, please click here or call us on 9601 4488.