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Paralytic Drugs Explained


Updated June 23, 2014

Anesthesia and Surgery Image

Anesthesia, Paralytic Drugs & Surgery

Photo: © Andrew Olney/Getty Images
Definition: A paralytic is a category of medications that cause extreme muscle relaxation that renders most muscles of the body unable to move. Paralytics are used as part of general anesthesia, preventing movement during surgery.

Paralytics prevent involuntary movement of the patient during surgery as even the smallest of movements, including muscles twitches, could cause a surgical error.

The use of a paralytic agent makes the use of a ventilator and a breathing tube necessary. This is because the muscles of the diaphragm, which help the lungs fill with oxygen, are unable to move during the administration of a paralytic.

Also Known As: general anesthesia, paralytic agent, paralytic drug, paralytic medication,
Common Misspellings: paralitic, parolitic, parlitic, parolytic, parolitic, paralitics,
The paralytic was administered by the anesthesiologist.
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