What type of anesthesia is used—and how it is applied—directly affects postoperative comfort as well as mental clarity and rehabilitation. This book describes the various options for anesthesia, how they can be used together for the best possible surgical outcome and optimal pain management, and their associated complications and risks.
Dr. Orebaugh focuses especially on the benefits of regional anesthesia. When appropriately applied—whether alone or with other methods—spinal and peripheral nerve blocks often lead to better recovery and reduced pain. With as many as half of all surgical patients experiencing poorly controlled postoperative pain, regional anesthetic nerve blocks can help significantly in managing this pain while reducing the side effects of general anesthetics and pain medications.
A better understanding of anesthesia will reassure people contemplating surgery and equip them to take the necessary steps toward healthy recovery. Knowing their options, they can have informed conversations with their doctor and indicate a preference for a specific anesthetic treatment. Written by a compassionate and experienced anesthesiologist and backed by scientifically accurate information and the latest research, this book will help patients do just that.
Steven L. Orebaugh, M.D., is an associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he is also an associate professor of critical care.
For many of the 40 million Americans who undergo anesthesia each year, it is the source of great fear and fascination. From the famous first demonstration of anesthesia in the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 to today’s routine procedure that controls anxiety, memory formation, pain relief, and more, anesthesia has come a long way. But it remains one of the most extraordinary, unexplored corners of the medical world.
In Counting Backwards, Dr. Henry Jay Przybylo—a pediatric anesthesiologist with more than thirty years of experience—delivers an unforgettable account of the procedure’s daily dramas and fundamental mysteries. Przybylo has administered anesthesia more than 30,000 times in his career—erasing consciousness, denying memory, and immobilizing the body, and then reversing all of these effects—on newborn babies, screaming toddlers, sullen teenagers, even a gorilla. With compassion and candor, he weaves his experiences into an intimate exploration of the nature of consciousness, the politics of pain relief, and the wonder of modern medicine.
Filled with intensity and humanity, with moments of near-disaster, life-saving success, and simple grace, Counting Backwards is for anyone curious about what happens after we lose consciousness.