If you've considered having a tummy tuck, getting breast implants or having liposuction, your surgeon will most likely perform the entire procedure under general anesthetic.
Anesthesia is a procedure in itself, a powerful sedative that ensures you won't feel a thing when going under the knife. However, some people experience an adverse reaction to the narcotics and drugs administered during the procedure; others experience powerful hallucinations and lucid dreaming days, even weeks after the drugs wear off.
For many people undergoing surgery, their biggest fears are waking up in the middle of the procedure or feeling pain. One doctor hopes to demystify the anesthesia process in a new book, Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia. Dr. Panchali Dhar talks about the issues surrounding different types and uses of anesthesia, and ways in which it is used specifically for cosmetic surgery, dental treatments, and during labor. The doctor provides solid, factual information about what happens to the body under anesthesia, and why some people do in fact, wake up during their procedure.
In a recent press release about the book, Dr. Dhar states that, "By the age of 50, most people have had at least three encounters with some form of anesthesia. Before you or a loved one undergoes another surgery or medical procedure, it's important to empower yourself and learn the basic questions to ask about anesthesia in order to ensure a safe and pain-free experience."
The book also contains a list of questions to ask the anesthesiologist before treatment, and tips for becoming a more informed patient. Overall, it is a source book for patients who want to learn as much as possible about their operation, and offers tips for handling post-operative problems such as nausea, headaches and other ailments. Each chapter ends with a checklist that the doctor names 'prescriptives', so that patients can take notes as they read along and even make a copy for future reference.
Dr. Dhar is an anesthesiologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, and assistant professor of anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia sells for a list price of $24.95, and is available online and offline from all major booksellers.