It is normal to be anxious about upcoming surgery and some patients will be concerned by the fact they are particularly anxious. They may even believe that a general anaesthetic will be required.
Generally, though, these patients choose to proceed with local anaesthetic once they understand its relative benefits and have had their specific concerns addressed.
Clearly it is the patient’s ultimate decision regarding their choice of anaesthetic. We will always respect and ultimately proceed with their request.
Some patients are concerned with the sensation they will experience during the procedure. They can expect to feel Dr Connell’s hand resting on their forehead. Most describe a feeling of movement, not pain. They will see coloured lights, shapes and movements but they won’t have a clear view or awareness of the actual procedure. In the unlikely even they experience significant discomfort, further anaesthetic can be administered.
Other patients are concerned that they won’t be able to lie still. We pay particular attention to ensuring the patient is comfortably positioned prior to commencing the procedure. This, combined with medication to help relaxation, ensures that they are able to lie still. A small clip is placed under the eyelids to ensure they remain open. Although this is an unusual sensation, it is not painful. Occasionally, we will insert this small clip in our clinic during the pre-operative assessment to provide the patient with the feeling they can anticipate. In this way, the patient is typically reassured.
Patients are given medications by an anaesthetist via an intravenous drip to help them relax. Although this makes them slightly drowsy, they remain able to communicate. If they are experiencing discomfort, further anaesthetic can be administered. The need for further anaesthetic, however, is uncommon.
Most patients undergo the procedure without significant discomfort and often those who are particularly apprehensive are pleasantly surprised.