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Advances in anesthesia make it possible for patients to remain awake and watch TV during surgery

579365935_5547cbdb96_zTired of hearing negative stories about the mind-numbing effects of television? Take heart, and read this BBC News story about the increasing number of patients that are given the option to remain alert and watch TV while they are being operated on.

As the story explains, it's now possible for patients to receive a spinal anesthetic - so they feel no pain - and remain conscious during surgery. For patients that choose this form of anesthetic for their surgery, television offers a familiar and entertaining distraction from the medical procedure.

From the BBC News story:

"I feel fine, I can't feel a thing and I'm watching Match of The Day."

That was the perspective of 57-year-old patient Paul Eaton during his hip replacement operation at the orthopaedic hospital, one of the UK's leading centres of excellence in its field.


While consultant surgeon Richard Spencer Jones cut, sawed and hammered during the hour-long hip replacement, Mr Eaton watched football highlights on iPlayer, via the hospital's wi-fi network.

The benefits of using a spinal anesthetic (as described above) over a general anesthetic include: a faster recovery time, fewer instances of post-operative sickness and a shorter hospital stay.

Holly MacCormick is a writing intern in the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. She is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California-Santa Cruz.

Previously: Researchers gain new insights into state of anesthesia
Photo by Kolya

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