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Understanding more about anesthesia

June 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments · Music and Surgery

After being in the Music Medicine field for almost 20 years now, my primary focus has come to be the use of music during surgery. I’ve even gone so far as to create a device to deliver music through headphones to the patient during surgery. Then I got a patent on these headphones as well as the process.

Then number one benefit of using music during surgery is that it greatly reduces the amount of anesthesia that a patient needs, when delivered through headphones. Ambient music does little or nothing for the patient and is primarily for the medical staff.

Is anesthesia dangerous? Read the following, excellent article and decide for yourself.

(Originally posted 28 February 2000 on About Anesthesiology)

I’m nervous about anesthesia:
You’ve just been told that you need an operation and it makes you worry. In fact, the anesthesia probably makes you worry more than the surgery itself since nobody has talked to you about it, it involves something quite mysterious and unknown and you don’t like feeling out of control.

First and foremost, realize that anxiety about medical procedures like surgery and anesthesia is completely normal. Fear of something that you don’t understand or don’t trust is also very normal. A visit with the anesthesiologist where you can discuss some of your options, risks and benefits, etc. and have your questions answered will go a long way to helping you understand what is going to happen and feel more secure about anesthesia.

Why an in person visit is important:
Let me stress that talking to your physicians in person is very important. Each patient is different and it is impossible to communicate all the relevant information over the internet, via email, in a book or on the telephone. The process of talking about risks and benefits is a very important one and is a vital part of the process known as informed consent. It is always important to seek advice and information from someone who knows your history, can perform a physical examination, and can talk to you more about risks and benefits.

What follows is some general information to help you be more prepared when you do talk about anesthesia and get the chance to ask your questions:

Is anesthesia dangerous?
Any time that a person is brought into the hospital, given medications, required procedures, etc. there is a certain amount of risk. This is no different with anesthesia. Luckily, the serious complications are quite rare (things like allergic reactions, genetic conditions that are not known, etc.) and the common complications are not dangerous (things like nausea, itching, etc.).

However, anesthesia today is safer than it has ever been before. Newer medications, new advances in monitoring technology, higher standards of practice, etc. have made serious complications very rare. Of course, part of this depends on what other medical issues might be going on with the patient. You should talk to your doctor more about the specifics as they apply to you.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Barry L. Friedberg, MD

    Without a brain activity monitor, you will receive more anesthesia for fear that you might get less than you actually need.
    The only way to get the right amount is by directly measuring your brain’s individual response to the anesthesia.
    ‘Goldilocks’ anesthesia is not too much, not too little but just the right amount your sleeping brain tells your anesthesia provider you need.

  • Dr. Alice Cash

    I’m assuming you’re talking about using a BIS monitor? I really appreciate your comment because I do believe that people are often as scared or more scared of the anesthesia and its potential side-effects. By adding my carefully chosen music, through headphones, to the formula, patients can have the best possible chance of a successful surgery. Do you agree?

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