expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. George Carlson, MD

Anesthesiologist

Dr. George Carlson is an anesthesiologist practicing in Kihei, HI. Dr. Carlson ensures the safety of patients who are about to undergo surgery. Anestesiologists specialize in general anesthesia, which will (put the patient to sleep), sedation, which will calm the patient or make him or her unaware of the situation, and regional anesthesia, which just numbs a specific part of the body. As an anesthesiologist, Dr. Carlson also might help manage pain after an operation.
42 years Experience
Dr. George Carlson, MD
  • Kihei, HI
  • Univ of Hawaii
  • Accepting new patients

Does anesthesia always make a person unconscious?

This is a very good question. Many people have a fear that anesthesia will not work. The reality is that there is a condition known as awareness under anesthesia. In this condition, READ MORE
This is a very good question. Many people have a fear that anesthesia will not work. The reality is that there is a condition known as awareness under anesthesia. In this condition, the patient will appear to be anesthetized.The anesthesiologist monitoring the patient will judge that the patient is anesthetized. The patient will not really be awake, but the patient will be aware of everything that is going on. The patient will hear the conversations going on in the operating room. The patient will be aware that he/she is having surgery. Pain is generally not being experienced. These patients do not talk about or remember feeling pain. However, this is a terrifying experience for the patient. Many doctors do not know that this can happen. There are reports of the patient going to a psychiatrist because the experience was so frightening. The patient is trying to get some help. The psychiatrist will sometimes tell the patient that what they are saying is impossible. They will be told that they are making up a story. This adds to the frustration, fear, and terror that the patient is experiencing. Treating this condition is a whole other topic, but it starts with an acknowledgement that the patient did have this experience, that it does happen and that it can be terrifying. Fortunately, this condition is very rare. The incidence is said to be 0.13%. This is about 1 or 2 persons per 1,000 cases of general anesthesia. The reality is that the vast majority of persons will be totally unaware and safe during their anesthetic experience.

The fact that this can happen creates many interesting questions about what anesthesia is and how can this possibly happen. This is being explored and answers are being looked for.

Thank you for your interest. If you are going to have anesthesia it is quite likely that things will go fine and that you will be totally unaware of what is happening.

George Carlson, MD