Helpful Information

Please review the following information to help you have the best possible experience before, during and after your procedure.

What Types of Anesthesia Are Available?

The four main types of anesthesia used during surgery are:

  • Local Anesthesia

    This is usually a one-time injection of medicine used to numb a small area for a procedure such as having a mole or skin cancer removed.

  • Regional anesthesia

    Pain medication to numb a larger part of the body, such as the area below the waist, may be provided through an injection or a small tube called a catheter. You will be awake, but unable to feel the area that is numbed. This type of
    anesthesia is often used for childbirth and surgeries of the arm, leg, or abdomen.

  • Monitored anesthesia care or Intravenous (IV) sedation

    The physician anesthesiologist will provide medication that will relax you through an IV placed in a vein. Depending on the procedure, the level of sedation may range from minimal – making you drowsy but able to talk-to deep. This means that you probably won’t remember the procedure. This type of anesthesia is used for minimally invasive procedures such as colonoscopies. IV sedation is sometimes combined with local or regional anesthesia.

  • General anesthesia

    This type of anesthesia is provided through an anesthesia mask or IV and makes you lose consciousness. It is more likely to be used if you’re having a major surgery, such as a knee replacement or open heart surgery.

The type of anesthesia will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of procedure you are having, your health, and in some cases, your preference.

Who Provides Anesthesia During Surgery?

Before your surgery, talk to your physician to ensure your anesthesia is led by a physician anesthesiologist, a medical doctor specializing in anesthesia, pain and critical care medicine who works with other physicians to develop and administer your anesthesia care plan. With 12 to 14 years of education and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training, these highly trained medical specialists help ensure safe, high quality care.

Your physician anesthesiologist will meet with you before your procedure to learn about any health conditions you may have as well as your previous experience with anesthesia to determine the pain management options safest and most effective for you. Your physician anesthesiologist will talk to you about any medications you take and let you know which medications are not safe to continue before the procedure.

What is Sedation and Analgesia?

Sedation and analgesic medications usually are provided through and IV placed in a vein. Depending on the procedure, the level of sedation may range from minimal- you feel drowsy but remain able to talk, but probably won’t remember the procedure. But even with deep sedation, you won’t actually be unconscious as you would be with general anesthesia. The analgesia medications may also contribute to your drowsiness.

Most patients wake up quickly once the procedure is over and the medications are stopped. Possible side effects include headache, nausea, drowsiness, but you likely will have fewer effects than you would from general anesthesia, and you’ll probably recover faster. Moderate or deep sedation may slow your breathing and in some cases you may be given oxygen.

Sometimes IV sedation and analgesia will be combined with another type of pain control, such as local anesthesia, which involves one or more injections to numb a small area of the body, or regional anesthesia, which numbs a larger part of the body, such as the waist.

IV sedation and analgesia can be provided for procedures that take place in the hospital, at an outpatient surgery center, a doctor’s offi ce or a dentist’s office.

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