Very often in view of an operation requiring general anesthesia, patients are more afraid of the anesthesia than of the operation itself. This happens “probably because you are afraid of what you don’t know,” explained Prof. Maurizio Cecconi, Director of the Anesthesia and Intensive Care Department at Humanitas, during a television interview.

“To those who are afraid to undergo general anesthesia I say that events related to pure anesthesia are extremely rare now” because “today, in 2018, anesthesia has become a very safe science and discipline: we have learned a lot even from areas other than strictly medical ones. I like to think of my theme as a group of guardian angels who take care of the patient during an operation,” added the professor.


The advice of the anesthesiologist

In order to best face an operation, Cecconi recommends to be prepared and informed by your doctor: “We are lucky to be able to meet our patients several weeks before the operation, if it is not a matter of emergencies, with a multidisciplinary team to prepare the patient and maybe try to change some of his habits of life that could involve risk factors. An example of this is smoking or diet: “There is a great deal of scientific evidence – explained Professor Cecconi – which has shown that stopping smoking a few weeks before surgery can help patients to have a better post-operative course, with fewer complications and therefore fewer risks”.


Personalized protocols

“There has been an evolution with regard to anesthesia: we have understood that it is not only important what we do during the operation, it is a rather ‘holistic’ approach to care about the sick as well as multidisciplinary, dedicated to each patient, involving surgeons, nurses, general practitioners, physiotherapists and all staff involved to try to prepare the patients as best as possible”, explained the anesthesiologist.


Nausea and post-operative fasting: the most annoying disorders for patients

Those who have undergone an operation have often complained in the first post-operative phase about persistent nausea, thirst or discomfort for ‘forced’ fasting after the operation.

Fasting is “one of the paradigms that is changing” – explained Cecconi, thanks to new protocols and scientific evidence: “some time ago, for example, he waited a long time before allowing a patient to start drinking and eating again; in fact today these times are very shortened and indeed, if there are no contraindications, the patient can eat and drink a few hours after waking up after anesthesia. This has been shown to reduce complications and to have an accelerated recovery,” Cecconi added.

As for the feeling of nausea the Professor explained that to date “not all the factors that cause it are known, because it has a multifactorial origin and we can not yet control all these factors. However, we have anesthesiological techniques and drugs that interfere less and less with this symptom and manage to limit it”.


What do you say to those who are afraid?

“I would say that you are in good hands: the anesthesiologists want to know you before the operation just to work with you and reduce the risks. Know that, however, since entering the hospital there is an anesthesiologist at your side that follows you in the different stages pre – intra and post operation and is ready to implement a series of procedures to minimize the risk. You don’t have to be afraid, the anesthesia is there to protect you”, concluded the professor.