What drugs will you use on me?
For general anesthesia, many different drugs are used for various
purposes at various times during the procedure. A routine appendectomy
might involve a pre-operative sedative, an 'induction' drug such as
propofol which will wear off in 10-15 minutes, a muscle relaxant to help
the surgeon part the abdominal wall, 'maintenance' anesthetic gases such
as nitrous oxide and sevoflurane, and intravenous pain killer, an
antibiotic, and an anti-nausea drug and two drugs to reverse the muscle
relaxant at the end. A complicated case may require a combination of
several other drugs. It is possible to do general anesthesia with a single
agent but usually a mixture will promote rapid awakening and minimize
the side effects.
Feel free to ask your anesthesiologist exactly what he or she plans to use,
but be prepared for unfamiliar names like propofol, rocuronium,
sevoflurane, and fentanyl. You will also hear her or him say words like
"maybe" and "probably" since the exact course of any anesthetic is not completely predictable.