BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One

BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One

BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One

Who makes the decision to use conscious sedation? What conditions are taken into consideration?


Conscious sedation helps reduce anxiety, discomfort, and pain during certain procedures. This is accomplished with medications and (sometimes) local anesthesia to induce relaxation.

Conscious sedation is commonly used in dentistry for people who feel anxious or panicked during complex procedures like fillings, root canals, or routine cleanings. It’s also often used during endoscopies and minor surgical procedures to relax patients and minimize discomfort.

BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One
BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One

Conscious sedation is now usually referred to by medical professionals as procedural sedation and analgesia. In the past, it’s been called:

  • sleep dentistry
  • twilight sleep
  • happy gas
  • laughing gas
  • happy air

Conscious sedation is known to be effective, but medical professionals still debate its safety and efficacy because of its effects on your breathing and heart rate.

BIO 316 Module 4 Discussion Question One


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Read on to learn how exactly it works, what it feels like, and how it might be used.

How does conscious sedation stack up against general anesthesia?

Conscious sedation and general anesthesia differ in several significant ways:

Conscious sedation General anesthesia
What procedures is this used for? examples: dental cleaning, cavity filling, endoscopy, colonoscopy, vasectomy, biopsy, minor bone fracture surgery, tissue biopsies most major surgeries or upon request during minor procedures
Will I be awake? you’re still (mostly) awake you’re almost always fully unconscious
Will I remember the procedure? you may remember some of the procedure you should have no memory of the procedure
How will I receive the sedative/drugs? you may receive a pill, inhale gas through a mask, get a shot into a muscle, or receive a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm this is almost always given through an IV line in your arm
How quickly does it take effect? it may not take effect immediately unless delivered through an IV it works a lot faster than conscious sedation because the drugs enter your bloodstream immediately
How soon will I recover? you’ll likely regain control of your physical and mental faculties quickly, so you may be able to take yourself home soon after a conscious sedation procedure it may take hours to wear off, so you’ll need someone to take you home

There are also three different stages of conscious sedation:

  • Minimal (anxiolysis). You’re relaxed but fully conscious and responsive
  • Moderate. You’re sleepy and may lose consciousness, but you’re still somewhat responsive
  • Deep. You’ll fall asleep and be mostly unresponsive.
What are the procedures for conscious sedation?

The steps for conscious sedation may differ based on the procedure you’re having done.

Here’s what you can typically expect for a general procedure using conscious sedation:

  1. You’ll sit in a chair or lie on a table. You may change into a hospital gown if you’re getting a colonoscopy or endoscopy. For an endoscopy, you’ll usually lie on your side.
  2. You’ll receive a sedative through one of the following: an oral tablet, an IV line, or a facial mask that lets you inhale the sedative.
  3. You’ll wait until the sedative takes effect. You may wait up to an hour before you begin to feel the effects. IV sedatives usually begin working in a few minutes or less, while oral sedatives metabolize in about 30 to 60 minutes.
  4. Your doctor monitors your breathing and your blood pressure. If your breathing becomes too shallow, you may need to wear an oxygen mask to keep your breathing consistent and your blood pressure at normal levels.
  5. Your doctor begins the procedure once the sedative takes effect. Depending on the procedure, you’ll be under sedation for as little as 15 to 30 minutes, or up to several hours for more complex procedures.

You may need to request conscious sedation in order to receive it, especially during dental procedures like fillings, root canals, or crown replacements. That’s because typically, only local numbing agents are used in these cases.

Some procedures, such as colonoscopies, may include conscious sedation without a request, but you can ask for different levels of sedation. Sedation can also be given as an alternative to general anesthesia if your risk of complications from anesthesia is too high.

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