The use of anesthesia during a regenerative prolotherapy procedure can take several different forms that vary between numbing a specific area (local anesthesia while being wide awake) to rendering a patient semi-conscious in order to perform the therapy more comfortably.
With conscious sedation, the patient is relaxed to the point where painful sensations are dulled during the procedure. It is administered either in pill form, or as an IM or IV injection, or it is inhaled as a gas. A major benefit of this type of sedation is that the patient stays awake and alert during their procedure and is able to answer questions that Dr Mahl or the staff might have. Conscious sedation is typically preferred by patients who have pain throughout most of their body and are getting many areas treated at once, or in patients who are highly needle phobic or when a patient doesn’t want to feel any potential pain or has a low pain threshold. Many patients are more comfortable with this form of anesthesia and prefer not to lose consciousness completely. This may be due to their own personal or family history with general anesthesia, the potential complications due to their medications, or even their own preconceived notions. Although they are alert during the procedure, most patients do not recall the actual treatment session after it is completed. In most cases, a CRNA administers the medication which is a combination of a sedative and an anesthetic. The medicine wears off quickly as it is normally used for prolotherapy and regenerative injection therapy procedures. Patients always make sure to communicate any known allergies and medications and/or supplements they take before taking the anesthetic and follow instructions involving fasting or temporarily altering their dosage to prevent any negative interactions. Like any medication, the exact effect of conscious sedation can vary. Some things to be aware of is that breathing can become slower, and there can be a slight drop in blood pressure. Normally, these changes are not significant enough to cause concern. Extra oxygen is often kept nearby as a precaution or given routinely via the nose.
Falling asleep is possible, but patients wake up quickly when spoken to or communicating with Dr Mahl and staff if asked and they are able to ask questions or be involved in a discussion and/or tell us their needs. Monitoring of vital signs is routine as the nurse and doctor keep an eye on the patient and ask if they are doing well and okay every few minutes. Blood oxygen levels are monitored with a pulse oximeter that attaches to the finger, and the patient’s blood pressure is checked every 15 minutes.
After the procedure is finished, some patients may get a headache or become nauseated. After an hour or two, the patient is allowed to go home, but is advised against driving, operating machinery, drinking alcohol, or making major decisions for at least 24 hours. A good healthy meal is advised to help the patient regain their energy along with any specific instructions that Dr Mahl gives that pertains to the specific procedure. While conscious sedation is generally safe, it is still good to have the right people around throughout the process who can anticipate any possible complications and be prepared for them.
At GenLife Regenerative Medicine/GenStem Prolotherapy Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells, Dr Mahl and the staff take great interest in their patients need for special attention in treating their injured and diseased joints/tissues/areas and in managing the pain associated with it. Our patients’ safety and comfort are our priority as we perform our work.