General Anesthesia – General anesthesia is administered via the patient’s circulatory system by a combination of inhaled gas and injected drugs. The process begins with an initial injection, and then is maintained with inhaled gas anesthetics and additional drugs through an intravenous line (IV). It acts primarily on the brain and central nervous system to make the patient unconscious and unaware.
Local Anesthesia – Medicine given to temporarily stop the sense of pain in a particular area of the body. A patient remains conscious during a local anesthetic. For minor surgery, a local anesthetic can be administered via injection to the site. However, when a large area needs to be numbed, or if a local anesthetic injection will not penetrate deep enough, physicians may resort to regional anesthetics.
Regional Anesthesia – The blockage of the electrical nerve impulses in a nerve or group of nerves to the site of the surgical procedure.
Spinal – Often used for lower abdominal, pelvic, rectal or lower extremity surgery. This type of anesthetic involves injecting a single dose of the anesthetic agent directly into the spinal cord in the lower back, causing numbness in the lower body.
Epidural and Caudal Anesthesia – This anesthetic is similar to a spinal anesthetic and also is commonly used for surgery of the lower limbs and during labor and childbirth. This type of anesthesia involves continually infusing drugs through a thin catheter that has been placed into the space that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back, causing numbness in the lower body.
Nerve Blocks – Placement of medicine around a group of nerves supplying impulses to the surgical area. For example, a Brachial Plexus block may be used by your anesthesiologist to provide anesthesia to your entire arm and shoulder.