General Anesthesia and Regional Anesthesia


The risks and benefits of the various types of anesthetic will be discussed with you by your anesthesiologist prior to your surgery. Please take the time to ask any questions that you might have. Remember, the decision as to the type of anesthesia to be administered is ultimately up to your anesthesiologist.   We strive to provide you with the safest anesthetic and best surgical outcome possible.

During General Anesthesia, medications are given so patients are unconscious (“asleep”) and unable to feel any pain during the surgical procedure. Some of these medications are given through an IV and others are gases administered through a breathing mask or tube with oxygen.  Some of the side effects of general anesthesia include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, muscle aches, shivering and confusion. General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthetic administered.  

Regional Anesthesiology entails injecting a local anesthetic near nerves to numb a portion of the body.  There are several types of regional anesthetics including spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia and various specific nerve blocks.  When Regional Anesthesia is used, patients  may be awake, sedated  or put to sleep for their surgical procedure.  

Epidural Anesthesia involves the injection of a local anesthetic, usually with a narcotic, into the epidural space, through either a needle or catheter. The epidural space is outside of the spinal cord. This type of anesthesia is commonly used in labor and delivery and for procedures of the lower extremities.

Spinal Anesthesia also involves the injection of a local anesthetic, with or without a narcotic, into the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. This type of anesthesia is commonly used for genitourinary procedures, cesarean sections and procedures of the lower extremities.

Nerve Blocks are used to block pain at a specific site. By injecting a local anesthetic into or around a specific nerve or group of nerves, pain relief can be localized to the site of pain. This type of anesthesia provides pain control during and after a procedure, It is associated with minimal side effects. Examples of nerve blocks include an adductor canal nerve block for knee surgery, an interscalene nerve block for shoulder surgery, and a supraclavicular nerve block for arm surgery.

Current Issue: Volume 3: Issue 4

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Elisha Marie,
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Anesthesiology Case Reports