Archive for the ‘pain relief’ Category

Nitrous Oxide Use In the Medical Office Is No Laughing Matter

September 27, 2015

There is a trend today to do more medical procedures outside of the hospital setting in ambulatory treatment centers or even in the physicians’ offices.  In urology, men are receiving prostate biopsies, cystoscopies and minimally invasive treatments for the enlarged prostate glands in the doctors’ offices.  This can be accomplished because the pain and discomfort can be made tolerable.

In our office we offer the inhalation of nitrous oxide to supplement the local anesthetic effect of topical Xylocaine similar to the use of Novocain by the dentist.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a clear, colorless, oxidizing liquefied gas with a slightly sweet odor. It has been used for decades by the dental profession and is now gaining acceptance for use by doctors in their office practices.

Nitrous oxide is blended with oxygen when used in sedation applications.

Nitrous oxide’s painkilling and numbing qualities begin to take effect when the gas is inhaled at very low concentrations. At increasingly higher concentrations, a sense of well being, or “high,” is experienced. A person experiencing a nitrous oxide high could:

Have slurred speech

Have difficulty in maintaining his or her balance or walking

Be slow to respond to questions

Be immune to any stimulus such as pain, loud noises, and speech

The gas is mixed with oxygen which is at a greater concentration than what occurs naturally in the air we normally breathe.  The gas is delivered through a mask placed over the mouth and nose.  At first the patient only receives pure oxygen in order to become accustomed to breathing with the mask over the nose and mouth.  Then slowly nitrous oxide is added to the oxygen until the desired analgesic effect is achieved.

There is a trend today to do more medical procedures outside of the hospital setting in ambulatory treatment centers or even in the physicians’ offices.  In urology, men are receiving prostate biopsies, cystoscopies and minimally invasive treatments for the enlarged prostate glands in the doctors’ offices.  This can be accomplished because the pain and discomfort can be made tolerable.

In our office we offer the inhalation of nitrous oxide to supplement the local anesthetic effect of topical Xylocaine similar to the use of Novocain by the dentist.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a clear, colorless, oxidizing liquefied gas with a slightly sweet odor. It has been used for decades by the dental profession and is now gaining acceptance for use by doctors in their office practices.

Nitrous oxide is blended with oxygen when used in sedation applications.

Nitrous oxide’s painkilling and numbing qualities begin to take effect when the gas is inhaled at very low concentrations. At increasingly higher concentrations, a sense of well being, or “high,” is experienced. A person experiencing a nitrous oxide high could result in:

Have slurred speech

Have difficulty in maintaining his or her balance or walking

Be slow to respond to questions

Be immune to any stimulus such as pain, loud noises, and speech

The gas is mixed with oxygen, which is at a greater concentration than what occurs naturally in the air we normally breathe.  The gas is delivered through a mask placed over the mouth and nose.  At first the patient only receives pure oxygen in order to become accustomed to breathing with the mask over the nose and mouth.  Then slowly nitrous oxide is added to the oxygen until the desired anesthetic effect is achieved.

At the end of the urologic procedure the nitrous oxide is turned off and the patient breathes pure oxygen for several minutes and then the mask is removed.  Most patients are comfortable afterwards and can walk out of the office without assistance and can even drive themselves home.

There are very few contraindications to using nitrous oxide.  These include patients with significant respiratory conditions such as severe COPD or emphysema.

There are very few side effects associated with the use of nitrous oxide.  The most common side effect is temporary nausea and rare vomiting.

Bottom Line:  Doctors make every effort to reduce or control pain associated with the medical procedures they perform.  The use of nitrous oxide in the outpatient or office setting helps patients eliminate pain associated with urologic procedures.  It is safe and there are few side effects.  For more information speak to your physician or give me a call at 504 891-8454.

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