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Types of Anesthesia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 2, 2022.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is medicine to help decrease pain and make you comfortable during a surgery or procedure. The type of anesthesia you receive will depend on the type of surgery or procedure you are having. The following are some of the types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia: This is used to make sure you are completely asleep during surgery. General anesthesia can be used for most kinds of surgeries. The medicine is given through your IV, a face mask, or a tube in your nose or throat.
  • Spinal or epidural anesthesia: This is used to numb you from your abdomen to your feet. Caregivers may numb you only to your waist, or up to your nipple line, depending on what kind of surgery you have. You may need this for childbirth or surgeries such as a hernia repair or removal of your appendix.
  • Interscalene block: This is used to numb your shoulder and arm during a surgery or procedure.
  • IV regional anesthesia: This is used to numb your arm or leg during a surgery or procedure.
  • Local anesthesia: This is used to numb a small part of your body. It is often used during minor surgery or procedures, such as a biopsy or dental care. You should not feel pain, but you may still feel pressure.
  • Peripheral nerve block: This is used to numb a certain part of your body during surgery or a procedure. It can also be used to treat severe or chronic pain. The arm and leg are the most common areas for a peripheral nerve block. Other areas include the head, neck, back, abdomen, and hip.
  • Saddle block or caudal anesthesia: This is used to numb your buttocks, inner thighs, hips, and the area between your legs. It can be used for surgeries to treat hemorrhoids. It can also be used to repair an episiotomy after childbirth.

What do I need to know about anesthesia?

When you receive anesthesia, you may also get other medicine to help you feel sleepy and relaxed during your surgery or procedure. If you are awake, you should not feel pain, but you may still feel pressure and pulling. Tell your caregiver if you have pain so he can give you more medicine. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has ever had any a problem with anesthesia, such as a high fever. Anesthesia may make it difficult to think. Do not make important decisions for 24 hours after you receive anesthesia.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

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What are the risks of anesthesia?

You may have a severe reaction to anesthesia. The anesthesia may cause nausea after your surgery. It may also cause a high fever, seizure, or heart attack. These conditions may be life-threatening. Some kinds of anesthesia may cause nerve damage. This may lead to long-lasting numbness or pain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.