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Answered 2008-05-09 00:11:21

A patient is intubated for surgery if they are going under general anesthesia. According to this website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anesthesia/SC00026 "General anesthesia is used for more extensive procedures or for procedures that aren't amenable to regional anesthesia. The medications used in general anesthesia are given intravenously or by inhalation. The drugs circulate in your bloodstream to all areas of your body, including your brain. They can suppress all of your protective reflexes, such as coughing, gagging and even breathing. Consequently, a general anesthetic requires the use of a mask or breathing tube while you're asleep. Because general anesthetics affect all areas of your body, such as the heart and lungs, side effects from the medications are more common. However, most are temporary and can be managed by your medical team."

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