Stages Of Anesthesia

The 4 Stages of Anesthesia

There are four main stages of anesthesia. Doctors use anesthesia when they will be performing surgery on a patient. This renders the patient unconscious and gives the doctor a chance to painlessly operate on with patient with no discomfort. Doctors pay close attention to these stages of anesthesia during surgical procedures. Each one is an important step to knowing when it is safe to start operating.

Anesthesia is administered either intravenous or by inhaling a gas through a face mask. The safest and fastest method is using an IV but both methods may be used in combination to complete a surgery. It all depends on how long the surgical procedure lasts.

Usually anesthesia lasts five to ten minutes. If more is needed during surgery the anesthesiologist can determine how much more is needed to continue. This is only done when another problem during surgery arises, like a problem that was not seen before hand and that has to be dealt with immediately. When the surgery is completed the anesthesia is stopped and recovery can be anywhere from five to thirty minutes depending on the surgery.

It is common practice for the anesthesiologist to set up an appointment with a patient twenty four hours before surgery. He will need to gather information from the patient in order to know what combination of drugs to use for the procedure. Certain questions have to be answered before surgery. The anesthesiologist will check the mouth and throat and he will find out how much the person weighs and if they are on any medications. This is all important information and will help determine how much and what types of drugs are needed. It is imperative to answer all of these questions correctly because any untruth can cause the patient to become very sick or even die, if all of the information is not known.

The four main stages of anesthesia regulate what the surgeon must do next. They are steps to be taken seriously and the patient must be observed and tested during each step.

The first stage is the actual administering of the drugs. There are only a few seconds in between the initial administering of the drug and unconsciousness. The patient may be asked at this time to start counting back from one hundred. Although the patient can communicate and knows what is going on, at this point he can begin to feel the affects fast.

In stage two the patient is now unconscious but the affects of the anesthesia might cause him to vomit or become excited. He might have spastic muscle movements also and if any of these things happen he will be given medications to get him to the next stage as soon as possible. These medications help to calm the patient.


When stage three is observed, it is time to perform surgery. The patient first has rapid eye movement and his breathing may be labored but over the next few minutes the muscles completely relax. The rapid eye movement ceases and breathing becomes more relaxed and slows down and becomes regular. The surgery can now begin.

During the last stages of anesthesia the patient might need help. The fourth stage is called an overdose. This means that too much anesthesia was given to the patient and he is suffering because of it. Respiration and cardiovascular health becomes affected. With out breathing apparatus and heart support the patient can die at this point.

Anesthesia is considered to be safe. There are only around five anesthesia related deaths to every million surgeries. Among the reasons are human error, allergies, the rotting of stomach contents and equipment failure.