Dissociated Anesthesia Dissociative Anesthesia

Overview & Description

Dissociative anesthesia is a unique method of pain control. Itreduces anxiety and produces a trancelike state. The person isnot asleep, but rather feels separated from his or her body.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Dissociative anesthesia is useful in emergency situations, such as an injury.It can also be used for short procedures that are painful, such as changingbandages. This method is safe and lasts only a short time.Because a person does not usually recall the procedure, this method is usefulin children.

How is the procedure performed?

The medications used for dissociative anesthesia are given through a shot intoa muscle or through an intravenous line,or IV. An IV is a thin tube that is usually placed into one of the veins of theforearm or hand. The medication quickly takes effect. The primary medicationused is called ketamine. A sedative is often given before ketamine to reduceanxiety.

A single dose of ketamine produces a trancelike state for about 10 to 30minutes and pain control for about 30 to 45 minutes. A pinprick is often usedto make sure the person doesn’t feel pain. The procedure is then performed.Additional doses of medication can be given if the procedure takes longer thanexpected. The individual’s eyes stay open during the procedure, but he or sheis in a daze and feels no pain.

Preparation & Expectations

What happens right after the procedure?

A person who has had dissociative anesthesia usually does not remember theprocedure, especially if a sedative has been given along with the painmedication. Most people feel back to normal within a few hours. As themedication wears off, an individual may have intense dreams and even hallucinations. If the procedure correctsthe problem and a hospital stay is not needed, the person can go home. Someoneelse must drive the person home, because the medications can impaircoordination and reflexes for several hours.

Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

Once at home, a person may have effects as a result of the procedure or injury,but usually not as a result of the medication used for dissociative anesthesia.

What are the potential complications after the procedure?

When the medication is wearing off, a person may have frightening dreams orhallucinations. Dissociativeanesthesia is generally avoided in a person with a psychosis because it can cause severe anxiety. Other problemsare rare, although allergicreactions to the anesthesiaarepossible.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists recently issued a warning about thepotential side effects and interactions of herbal remedies with medications used before, during, and after surgery.The group recommends discontinuing all herbal remedies and supplements at least two weeksbefore planned surgery.

Article type: xmedgeneral