What is Anesthesia?
There are several types of Anesthesia: Local, Regional, MAC, and General.
Anesthesia is designed to block pain to varying degrees during surgical procedures. Depending on the type of anesthesia required, it may be administered intravenously, by inhaled gas, by injection, or, at times, in a combination of the above methods. During surgical procedures, anesthesia is administered by an Anesthesiologist or Nurse Anesthetist, who specializes in administering analgesia and anesthesia.
This type of anesthesia affects a broader area of the body when local anesthesia isn’t sufficient to fully block pain. Regional anesthesia may include:
Spinal Anesthesia. This form of anesthesia, usually administered by way of injection beneath the arachnoid membrane surrounding the spinal cord near the lower back, causes numbness in the lower body area including the lower abdominal area, pelvic region, rectal area or lower extremities. It is usually administered in a single dose.
Nerve Blocks. This involves the injection of medicine around a specific group of nerves that transfer sensations from the specific area of your surgery. In essence, this form of anesthesia blocks the flow of pain impulses in the targeted body part.
Epidural Anesthesia. This form of anesthesia is often used when surgery is performed in the lower limbs or during the process of labor and resulting childbirth. Similar to spinal anesthesia, Epidural Anesthesia provides drugs via a very thin catheter in the epidural space that is located between the spinal cord and lower back.
This form of anesthesia involves giving sedation through your IV. It may involve benzodiazepines such as Versed, opiates like Fentanyl or deeper sedatives like Propofol. You are typically conscious during the procedure and may have some recall during the procedure but this is normal.