General Anesthesia is used daily, all over the world to complete surgeries in which your body functions need to be suppressed. This helps someone’s body to feel no pain during surgery and remain completely unaware of the procedure. The patient is essentially put to sleep and research has been done to assess how the brain begins functioning again after the anesthesia is stopped.
After being taken off anesthesia, the patient begins to regain consciousness and this is when the post anesthesia testing begins. Consciousness cognition is not regained all at once, but more spread out and slowly. The prefrontal cortex is the first brain function to come back, which includes anticipating events in the environment, impulse control, and managing emotional responses. With further research, the fact that cognition is regained first makes sense due to the fact that if someone wakes up in danger, they can then judge the situation and make a plan. Overall, the frontal regions of the brain are the most active after regaining consciousness.
Patients under anesthesia have the same cognitive ability as those who were just awake during the time they were put under anesthesia. Essentially, the patient’s brains were not affected in a way that made them different from those who were not put under general anesthesia. This includes not affecting their future sleep schedule, as well as their cognitive abilities. There are certain circumstances in which anesthesia can affect people differently and affect their cognition after going under anesthesia, but the majority is not greatly affected.
When going under anesthesia there is always a risk because it is still an area that scientists do not know everything about, however, patients can take comfort in the fact that it is a very safe process. General anesthesia is necessary for most procedures and has made things possible that would be impossible without it. The brain is a complex organ that will continue to be studied, especially when it comes to how it is affected by anesthesia.