Anesthesia is a vital part of the surgical process. Your anesthesiologist needs to know about all your medical and surgical history, especially any problems or conditions with your heart or lungs. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors educated in administering anesthesia and managing your care before, during and after surgery.
There are three main categories of anesthesia:
Local anesthesia - The anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb just the specific location of your body requiring minor surgery, for example, on the hand or foot.
Regional anesthesia - Your anesthesiologist makes an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You will also be given a sedative through your IV. You do not see or feel the actual surgery take place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. The most frequently used are spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia and peripheral nerve blocks, which are produced by injections made with great exactness in the appropriate areas of the nerves.
General anesthesia - You are unconscious and have 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 introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, you are carefully monitored, controlled and treated by your anesthesiologist, who uses sophisticated equipment to track all your major bodily functions. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and into your 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 awareness in the recovery room.
*According to the American Society of Anesthesia
Risks of anesthesia
All surgical procedures and all anesthesia carry risks, but adverse events are very rare.
The risk varies with the type of procedure and the condition of the patient.
Please notify anesthesia of any previous problems with anesthesia, or if any family members have had any problems.
Ask your anesthesiologist about any risks that may be associated with your anesthesia.
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight before surgery. The pre-admission nurse will instruct you on which medications need to be taken the morning of surgery with water only.