There are four main types of anesthesia; local, monitored, regional and general anethesia. Depending upon your procedure and your individual needs and circumstances, your anesthesiologist will choose and discuss the correct anesthesia for you. Choices include: local anesthesia, monitored anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Each has many forms and uses.
In local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb the specific location of your body having minor surgery, (for example, the hand or foot).
With monitored anesthesia (also called “light sedation”) an anesthesiologist provides close patient monitoring for a patient receiving local or regional anesthesia during surgery. Intravenous sedation is often used. The patient is typically awake but in a condition that ranges from relaxed to groggy. This type of anesthesia is frequently used with minor surgeries.
In regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or you may be given a sedative. Either way, you will not see or feel the actual surgery take place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most frequently used are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia, which are produced by injections made with great exactness into the appropriate areas of the back. Both are typically used during childbirth and prostate surgery.
With general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or sensation. General anesthetic drugs include gases and vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and medications introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will carefully monitor and control your major bodily functions via sophisticated equipment. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and frequently into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesiologist will reverse the process and you will regain consciousness in the recovery room.