Types of Anesthesia

Local anesthesia:

Local anesthesia is given to temporarily stop the sense of pain in a particular area of the body. A patient remains awake and conscious. For minor surgery, a local anesthetic
can be administered with an injection to the site. However, when a larger area needs to be numbed, or if an injection will not penetrate deep enough, regional anesthetics may
be used.

Regional Anesthesia:

Regional anesthesia numbs only the portion of the body that will receive the surgical procedure. Usually an injection of local anesthetic is given in the area of nerves that provide feeling to that part of the body. Spinal and epidural anesthesia are the two most prominent examples.

Spinal Anesthesia:

A spinal anesthetic is used for lower abdominal, pelvic, rectal or lower extremity surgery. This type of anesthetic involves injecting a single dose of the anesthetic medication into the space that surrounds the spinal cord. The injection is made into the lower back, below the end of the spinal cord, and it causes numbness in the lower body. In some situations, such as a prolonged procedure, continuous spinal anesthesia may be used. A thin catheter is left in place for additional injections of the anesthetic agent to maintain numbness during the length of the surgery.

Epidural Anesthesia:

The epidural anesthetic is similar to a spinal anesthetic and is commonly used for surgery of the lower limbs as well as during labor and childbirth. This type of anesthesia involves continually infusing an anesthetic medication through a thin catheter. The catheter is placed into the space that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back, causing numbness in the lower body. Epidural anesthesia may also be used for chest surgical procedures. In this case, the anesthetic medication is injected at a higher location in the back to numb the chest and abdominal areas.

General Anesthesia:

General anesthesia is an anesthetic used to induce unconsciousness during surgery. The medication is either inhaled through a breathing mask or tube, or administered through an intravenous line—a thin plastic tube inserted into a vein, usually in the patient's forearm. A breathing tube may be inserted into the mouth to maintain proper breathing during surgery. Once the surgery is complete, the anesthesiologist ceases delivery of the anesthetic and the patient wakes up in the recovery room.

“All of my experiences have been excellent.” – 60 year old female, outpatient procedure 


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