Anesthesia has been described as “freedom from pain.” It’s a drug that numbs part of the body or renders patients unconscious so that they don’t feel pain during surgery. And it’s no secret that anesthesia revolutionized the practice of medicine.

Anesthesia has a long history. One early recorded instance was in the 13th century, when an Italian doctor used sponges soaked in opium during surgery. In the 15th century ether was first used on animals, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that scientists and doctors did extensive research with nitrous oxide — laughing gas.

The 19th and early 20th centuries saw an explosion of research into anesthesia that helped make it into an incredibly complex and useful tool for any number of surgical techniques. Today anesthesia has been refined into three main types: local, regional and general.

Local anesthesia numbs a small part of the body for dental and surgical procedures. For an example a dermatologist might numb just a patch of skin to remove a mole. Or a dentist might numb the gums when filling a cavity. However it’s used, local anesthesia is an effective way to reduce pain and stress with a relatively low risk of complications.

Regional anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body. For example, an anesthesiologist might inject anesthesia into the lower back for a “spinal,” which is often used for orthopedic procedures or lower limb surgery. Similarly, an “epidural” is an infusion of anesthesia that numbs the lower body to reduce the pain of labor and childbirth.

General anesthesia renders the patient unconscious for surgery, producing a loss of sensation throughout the entire body. Often a “general” will be administered through a mask, tube or IV. One important aspect of general anesthesia is that the patient is spared stress both by not being awake during surgery and by not remembering it afterward — because who wants to remember an experience like that?

Of course doctors may use some combination of these types depending upon the procedure. Regardless, it’s very uncommon for there to be problems when anesthesia is used, but like any medical procedure there’s always some risk. In this case, the risks are generally minor, like a headache, sore throat or nausea.

Many anesthesiologists look at their work as an art, a subtle combination of experience and expertise. That’s why they need well trained Anesthesia Technicians (ATs). ATs help anesthesiologists by doing things like sterilizing the instruments or maintaining the equipment. In order to help anesthesiologists do their best, ATs need a deep understanding of anesthesia pharmacology, equipment and techniques.

If you’re interested in become an Anesthesia Technician in Florida, City College can help you. Call 866-314-5681 to find out how you can be a part of this important profession.