General anesthesia is a great benefit for oral surgery patients – and can lead to some hilarious side effects
It’s a favorite online trend: the viral video of a person just out of oral surgery who is weeping, shouting, and babbling like a lunatic.
In one recent example, a young man named Jack was pretty upset to learn that he wasn’t the only patient who receives care from his oral surgeon. His mother reassures him that he’s their “favorite patient but not the only patient.” And Jack’s reaction to flags, rivers, and the story of Goldilocks has garnered over 4 million views online.
YouTube is filled with these funny moments, as post-op patients are laughingly recorded by their loved ones and the results posted online. And it’s all thanks to the general anesthesia commonly used in oral surgery.
Besides the desired effects of relaxation, painlessness, and temporary unconsciousness, anesthesia can cause a few harmless but unwanted side effects, including disorientation, confusion, and bizarre – perhaps even hilarious – emotional outbursts such as shouting, crying, and singing. These side effects typically last only a few minutes after the patient awakes, so family and friends hoping to make you famous on YouTube will have to be quick with the camera.
The biochemical reasons behind these strange reactions are not well understood. However, the safety and effectiveness of anesthesia is very well understood – and a great boon to patients and their surgeons when it comes to managing pain and anxiety.
In fact, medical experts agree that general anesthesia is exceptionally safe, with the risk of long-term complications vanishingly small. As with any drugs, however, medical factors such as drug allergies or preexisting conditions of the heart, lungs, or liver must be accounted for in advance to ensure patient safety. Be sure to fully answer all of your oral surgeon’s questions prior to any procedure involving general anesthesia.