15 doctors weighed in:

What is the usual form of anesthesia for a head injury?

15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Roethle
Anesthesiology
5 doctors agree

In brief: General anesthesia

If a patient has a traumatic brain injury that requires surgery, this patient will recieve general anesthesia and will likely remain on the ventilator post-operatively.
The patient will be put to sleep, may recieve a central line and arterial line, will be stabilized and remain anesthetized for surgery. The patient will then go to the ICU for close monitoring and continued care of the head injury.

In brief: General anesthesia

If a patient has a traumatic brain injury that requires surgery, this patient will recieve general anesthesia and will likely remain on the ventilator post-operatively.
The patient will be put to sleep, may recieve a central line and arterial line, will be stabilized and remain anesthetized for surgery. The patient will then go to the ICU for close monitoring and continued care of the head injury.
Dr. Scott Roethle
Dr. Scott Roethle
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2 comments
Dr. Karen Sibert
Dr. Roethle is 100% correct. Sedation usually is not adequate for surgical management of a head injury unless it is very minor. With head injury, it is very important to manage the patient's breathing properly, and this usually requires a breathing tube and a ventilator. Special medications to control blood pressure may be necessary too.
Dr. Seth Akst
Dr. Roethle gave a very nice answer. Some patients with head injury will be intubated even if they do not require surgery, because of the importance of preventing choking and making certain they breathe enough. If a patient with head injury required surgery, they would certainly be intubated and then receive general anesthesia.
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Neurosurgery
3 doctors agree

In brief: Depends on severity

This depends on the severity of the head injury.
If you are talking about severe head injury, patients are often placed under very deep anesthesia very much like an induced coma. This is done to decrease the metabolic demands of the brain. This helps to decrease the swelling and increased pressure associated with a severe brain injury. Many brain and body monitors help guide the physicians.

In brief: Depends on severity

This depends on the severity of the head injury.
If you are talking about severe head injury, patients are often placed under very deep anesthesia very much like an induced coma. This is done to decrease the metabolic demands of the brain. This helps to decrease the swelling and increased pressure associated with a severe brain injury. Many brain and body monitors help guide the physicians.
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Dr. Jefferson Chen
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Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Anesthesiology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Some minor

Procedures can be done with local anesthesia.
Most are done with general anesthesia, with close attention paid to minimize the risk of worsening any neurological injury.

In brief: Some minor

Procedures can be done with local anesthesia.
Most are done with general anesthesia, with close attention paid to minimize the risk of worsening any neurological injury.
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
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Dr. Benjamin Nguyen
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Depends

Depends on the type of surgery needed.
If it is only switches, then local anesthesia will be used. For most other head surgeries, general anesthesia is required.

In brief: Depends

Depends on the type of surgery needed.
If it is only switches, then local anesthesia will be used. For most other head surgeries, general anesthesia is required.
Dr. Benjamin Nguyen
Dr. Benjamin Nguyen
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Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: What surgery?

If it's a head injury requiring craniotomy to evacuate a bleed, then it's general anesthesia with an endotracheal tube.
Special care is taken while placing breathing tube to avoid neck injury. If patient unable to protect airway, may be intubated prior to or. If no surgery and can protect airway, then preferable to not sedate or intubate so neuro exam can be followed.

In brief: What surgery?

If it's a head injury requiring craniotomy to evacuate a bleed, then it's general anesthesia with an endotracheal tube.
Special care is taken while placing breathing tube to avoid neck injury. If patient unable to protect airway, may be intubated prior to or. If no surgery and can protect airway, then preferable to not sedate or intubate so neuro exam can be followed.
Dr. Matt Malkin
Dr. Matt Malkin
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology

In brief: See below

The question is a little vague, but let me give it a try.
If a patient has a head injury the anesthetic that we will choose will be one that has the shortest effect on the brain, so that we can continue to evaluate the patient once awake. We do not want to use long lasting sedatives that would make it difficult to see if the head injury has got worse. I hope that this helps.

In brief: See below

The question is a little vague, but let me give it a try.
If a patient has a head injury the anesthetic that we will choose will be one that has the shortest effect on the brain, so that we can continue to evaluate the patient once awake. We do not want to use long lasting sedatives that would make it difficult to see if the head injury has got worse. I hope that this helps.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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