WHAT IS CONSCIOUS SEDATION?

Conscious sedation is simply a regimen that acts both as a sedative and an anesthetic. When this is administered, the patient will stay awake but will not be able to speak.

With conscious sedation, you can recover quickly and return to your normal activities soon after the surgery.

Conscious sedation is usually administered in the outpatient clinic or the hospital. The effect doesn’t last for long so it is used only for short, non-complex procedures. The medicine may be received intravenously or intramuscularly. If the medication is administered orally, then it may take up to an hour before the effects are felt.

There will be a decrease in your breathing rate, followed by a fall in blood pressure. You will be strictly monitored by your healthcare provider all through the procedure to ensure that you are okay.

During conscious sedation, the patient can breathe freely without needing any help. In some cases, extra oxygen may be received through intravenous fluids via a catheter or through a mask.

You may fall asleep, but will wake and respond to people within the environment easily. Drowsiness after conscious sedation is normal, and you may not remember much after the procedure.

Why is conscious sedation performed?

Conscious sedation is effective and safe for people who are undergoing very minor surgical procedures. It is also used by people who undergo a procedure for the purpose of diagnosis. Conscious sedation may be used for tests and procedures such as:

  • Biopsy of the breast
  • Dental prosthetic or reconstructive surgery
  • Minor surgery of the foot
  • Plastic surgery
  • Minor skin surgery
  • Minor bone fracture repair.

Are there any risks involved?

Conscious sedation is safe and almost risk free. However if the medication is given in excess, then the patient may encounter difficulties in breathing.An anesthesiologist will carefully monitor the patient all through the procedure.

Special equipment are usually provided to help with breathing. Conscious sedation can only be provided by qualified health professionals.

What happens before the procedure?

The patient has to inform the healthcare provider of her pregnancy status (in the case of a female), or what medications you are currently taking (with or without prescription).

During the days preceding the procedure:

  • The healthcare provider should be informed of the allergies experienced by the patient, the medications he or she is taking, and the patient’s history of anesthesia.
  • Blood or urine tests may be required before the administration. A physical exam may also be required.
  • Arrangement should be made for a responsible adult to take the patient home from the hospital at the end of the procedure.
  • Smoking should be stopped. It increasesthe risk of complications and impedes the healing process.
  • On the day of the procedure, the patient should follow instructions regarding when to eat, where to eat, what to eat and what not to eat.
  • Alcohol should not be taken before the day and the day of the procedure.
  • Drugs to be taken should be done with a small sip of water.
  • Patients should arrive at the health facility on time.

After the procedure

After the conscious sedation, the patient will feel drowsy and have a slight headache or a sick feeling in the stomach. While recovering, the finger will be clipped to a pulse oximeter to check the blood oxygen level. The blood pressure will be checked at an interval of 15minutes.

The patient can go home at most 2 hours after the procedure. Once the patient gets home, he or she is expected to:

  • Eat healthily to restore the energy
  • Avoid operating heavy machinery, driving, or making legal decisions within the next 24 hours.
  • Consult his or her physician before taking any medications or herbal supplements.
  • Follow the doctor’s instructions for wound care and recovery (if the patient had undergone a surgery after the sedation).

Prognosis

Conscious sedation is not associated with any risks unless administered in overdose. It is an option for diagnostic tests and procedures.

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