The Risks and Benefits of Sedation

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

A sedative is a drug induced during medical procedures to reduce excitement, anxiety and irritation. It can also minimize reflexes and calm a patient. Sedatives will not eliminate pain, but they can prep the patient for surgery, particularly uncomfortable and invasive procedures. Usually, this drug is given to patients that are anesthetized.

The drug usually puts a patient in a relaxed, sleep-like state. It can boost the compliance and tractability of troublesome patients and children. Although sedatives are a great drug to prep patients during surgery, they are not for everyone. Before your surgery, be sure to ask for the credentials of the health care professional and make sure you are working with a well-trained surgeon or a skilled dentist. In today’s post, we are listing down the risks and benefits of using sedatives:

Benefits of Sedation

Pain-Free, Efficient Operation

Because sedatives render a patient unconscious, the surgeon can perform the surgery without inflicting stress. Because the patient is in a sleep-like state, the doctor is able to focus on completing the surgery in half the time. For instance, if you are getting an intensive dental work that will take several appointments to complete, the dentist can get more work done in less time when you are sedated.

Reduces Anxiety

One of the reasons why sedatives are needed is to ease anxiety among stressed out patients. And after the surgery, the patient does not remember the experience at all. This reduces the stress that patients have to endure during and after surgery.

Added Control

Sedation is usually administered for patients who are unable to control their movements or for very young children who cannot sit still. Those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease have to be put under sedation to relax the muscles and eliminate jerking movements.

Risks of Sedation

Not for Everyone

Not everyone is comfortable at the idea of using sedatives to ease nervousness or stress. In dentistry, sedation usually involves using nitrous oxide to calm the nerves while anesthesia is needed to render a patient unconscious during a major surgery. Anesthesia is administered through injection while nitrous oxide is administered by inhalation.

Not Covered by Insurance

Yes, some insurance companies do not cover sedation, particularly for dental procedures. If you’re up for a surgery, our advice is to check with your insurance provider to determine if sedation is part of your policy’s coverage.

Can Interact with Certain Meds

It’s equally important to let your doctor know what medications you are taking prior to being sedated. Sedatives can affect the efficacy of certain medications. Other times, the drugs will interact negatively with sedatives.

Effects will Vary

Not all sedatives are created equal, some are fast-acting, others are not. For example, nitrous oxide sedation and sedatives administered through IV will take effect almost immediately. On the other hand, oral or pill sedation takes more time before the effects kick in. To check what type of sedatives will be used on you, you can always ask your doctor. Take this opportunity to ask any questions or concerns you might have about the sedatives and the procedure.


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