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5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
Ph / 1.866.406.6787
Fx / 703.379.6407
General anesthesia is a deep level of sleep that predictably allows the satisfactory completion of the planned treatment. Local anesthesia is not required. There is no level of resistance to treatment that cannot be eliminated with general anesthesia. General anesthesia requires more pre-treatment preparation than other levels and some medical conditions create more risk with general anesthesia versus sedation.
Under general anesthesia, the patient is unaware of events, feels no pain or other sensation, and is not responsive to commands. An intravenous (IV) line is inserted and after the patient is asleep a breathing tube or other device is inserted to keep the airway open. Drugs can be given IV or can be inhaled through a nasal mask or both. Most often, a combination of drugs is used for general anesthesia. Oxygen is always administered as well.
Administering general anesthesia requires a great deal more training than all of the other levels of sedation. The doctor administering the anesthesia should be devoted entirely to that function and not be involved with performing the procedure. All of the monitoring and emergency preparedness described in the IV sedation section are required and additional drugs and equipment, including of course an anesthesia machine, are needed as well. The staff and facility must be trained and experienced in the care of patients who have been administered general anesthesia.