What is anesthesia?

During surgery, you will be given anesthesia. This is medicine to relieve pain and feeling during surgery. The type and dosage of anesthesia is given by an anesthesiologist. This is a doctor with extra training in using this medicine safely. Before surgery, you will meet with our anesthesiolgy team (doctor or nurse anesthetist) to review your condition and health history to plan the right anesthetic for you. Your safety is our number one priority.

Types of anesthesia

There are different types of anesthesia. The type you get will depend on the type of surgery you are having and your overall health. You may also be given a sedative sleepy and calm. There are differnt types of anesthesia whihc include:

Local anesthesia

Local anesthesia is given for a short time to stop pain in 1 part of the body. You stay awake. For minor surgery, a local anesthetic can be injected into the area. Or it may be absorbed into the skin. If a large area needs to be numbed, or if a local anesthetic injection will not work well enough, another type of anesthesia may be used.

Regional anesthesia

Regional anesthesia is used to numb only the part of the body that will have the surgery. First, a local anesthetic is injected in the area of nerves that provide feeling to that part of the body. Then a regional anesthesia is used. There are 2 forms of regional anesthetics:

  • Spinal anesthetic. This is used for lower abdominal, pelvic, rectal, or lower extremity surgery. A single dose of the anesthetic is injected into the area around the spinal cord. The injection is done in the lower back. It causes numbness in the lower body. This type of anesthesia is most often used for surgery of the legs or hips.
  • Epidural anesthetic. This is similar to spinal anesthetic. It’s often used for surgery of the lower limbs or during labor and childbirth. This type of medicine is given ongoing through a thin tube (catheter). The catheter is placed into the space around the spinal cord in the lower back. It causes numbness in the lower body. An epidural may also be used for chest or abdominal surgery. In this case, the medicine is injected at a higher place in the back. This then numbs both the chest and abdominal areas.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is medicine that is used to make you sleep during surgery. The medicine may be inhaled through a breathing mask or tube. Or it may be given through an intravenous (IV) line. A breathing tube may be inserted into your windpipe. This is to help you breathe during surgery. Once the surgery is done, the medicine is stopped. You are taken to the recovery room where our Team will observe your progression off of anesthesia and monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs.