Types of Anesthesia
There are three types of anesthesia – local, regional and general.
This type of anesthesia is injected into the tissue to numb a specific area on your body and is most often used in minor surgeries.
An injection is made near a group of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. With this type of anesthesia, the patient can remain awake, or the anesthesiologist may administer a sedative intravenously to put the patient to sleep. Using a combination of regional anesthesia and sedation allows the patient to sleep lightly throughout the entire surgery and provides patients with the same unawareness as general anesthesia, but with much less medication than is required with general anesthesia. Other advantages of this method include a more rapid arousal and a shorter hospital stay after surgery, and some of the risks and side effects associated with general anesthesia are avoided.
There are several kinds of regional anesthesia, with the two most frequently used being spinal and epidural anesthesia.
With general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious and has no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthetic drugs, some are gases or vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications administered intravenously. During this type of anesthesia, the patient is carefully monitored by the anesthesiologist. In some cases, a breathing tube may be inserted to maintain proper breathing during the procedure. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated precisely and constantly adjusted as needed. After surgery, the anesthesiologist will reverse the process and the patient will slowly regain awareness in the recovery room.
With all forms of anesthesia, the anesthesiologist remains in attendance throughout the entire surgery to be sure that the patient stays comfortable and safe.