You Can Be in Control of Your Anesthesia

You Can Be in Control of Your Anesthesia
Barry L. Friedberg Anesthesiologist

Dr. Barry Friedberg is an anesthesiologist practicing in Newport Beach, CA. Dr. Friedberg 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,... more

Many people have anesthesia fears. They want to know "How does my anesthesiologist know how much to give me? How do I avoid getting too much?"

Before the brain monitor, anesthesiologists relied on changes in heart rate and blood pressure. But this is information from the bottom of your brain. Anesthetics affect the part behind your forehead. The number from your forehead tells the anesthesiologist how your brain is responding to medication like propofol. This number means you can control your individualized dose based entirely upon your specific needs.

Brain monitors are found in 75% of US hospitals, yet only used 25% of the time. The cost of the brain monitor sensor is not greater than most hospitals charge for 2 Tylenol. The brain monitor scale is 0-100. The lower the number, the more ‘asleep’ you are. Neither the cost nor the difficulty of use are serious obstacles to having your anesthesiologist use the best available technology to prevent anesthesia over medication.

A scientific 2009 study showed 16 million of the 40 million American patients (40%) having major surgery under anesthesia receive too much every year, resulting in postoperative brain fog.

American patients do not routinely receive anesthesia with a brain monitor. The goal of my nonprofit, Goldilocks Anesthesia Foundation, is making brain monitoring a standard of care for major surgery under anesthesia.

When patients ask to have a brain monitor, they get often push back like “We don’t need that.” Your best response should be, “I have to live with the long-term consequences of your short-term care. Please use one.” Although challenging, patients should make this request before they are lying on a gurney to take them into surgery.

Why is routine brain monitoring, the best available 21st century technology to prevent over medication, still not widely used?

In 2000, I published a statistically significant 30% reduction in drug use when a brain monitor was used compared to not having one. Drug companies want to sell more, not less, drugs. Drug companies also provide substantial financial support (money) to the National Anesthesia Society. There appears to be a conflict of interest between you the patient, the drug companies, and the National Anesthesia Society.

Please read more in Getting Over Going Under, 5 Things You MUST Know Before Anesthesia at This book is written in non-technical language for the public. There are no ‘donation’ or ‘email requested’ buttons either to access the site or download the book.

Please help create the same force for change that got fathers into delivery rooms to witness their children being born: public demand. Feel free to also share the book with your friends and family members, especially those over 50 for whom too much anesthesia can be very bad.

In 1997, Dr. Friedberg became the first anesthesiologist in Orange County, CA, to begin routinely monitoring his patients with a brain activity monitor, adding a significant refinement to PK anesthesia. Many anesthesiologists expressed similar skepticism about brain activity monitoring that they had expressed nearly 20 years earlier about the Dinamap.