What are the types of anesthesia?
- General anesthesia is the most common form of anesthesia for a wide range of surgical procedures. Medications will be given to you through your IV or through your breathing mask. After you have fallen asleep, your airway will be protected by a breathing tube that is placed in your mouth and which also allows you to continue to receive inhaled anesthetic medications.
- Once the surgery is completed, the anesthesiologist will taper off the medications allowing you to wake up comfortably in the recovery room.
- Regional anesthesia allows only a portion of your body to be numb. This form of anesthesia can be used in arms, and leg surgery and lower abdominal surgeries like C-Sections, and bladder suspensions. There are several forms:
- Spinal anesthesia:
- This anesthetic involves an injection of local anesthetic and narcotics to the fluid around the spinal canal.
- Epidural anesthesia:
- This anesthetic is similar to a spinal, however the medications are infused in the epidural space which is right outside the spinal sac. Often, a catheter is placed allowing prolonged infusion of medications, such as for a labor epidural.
- Interscalene and Femoral nerve blocks:
- Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)
- MAC is a form of anesthesia in which a patient is lightly sedated. It is often used during cataract surgeries, biopsies or colonoscopies.
- The goal is to keep you comfortable, while you continue to breathe on your own. Often, you may be asked questions by the surgeon during certain portions of the procedures, so you are not completely "knocked out" and may have some recall during that time.
What are the risks of anesthesia?
- More than 25 million surgical procedures are performed each year in the United States alone1. The health and well being of almost everyone you know has been touched by the science of anesthesiology.
Death or serious illness or injury due solely to anesthesia is rare and is usually also related to complications from the surgery.
Do Red-Heads really need more Anesthesia?
- A study from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, noticed that volunteer patients with red hair required 20% more anesthetic than other hair colored patients. They currently believe that it is because of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene ( MC1R), which allows the expression of red hair.
- Anesthesiologists are aware of this phenomenon, and tailor the patient's anesthetic and monitoring accordingly.
Why does my Anesthesiologist ask me to open my mouth?
- With the various forms of anesthesia, it may be necessary to place an airway device in your mouth. The anesthesiologist is evaluating how easy the placement will be, and more importantly that you can open your mouth and that nothing will fall out or become displaced.
Why are patients not allowed to eat or drink anything before surgery?
- For most procedures it is necessary for you to have an empty stomach so that the chances of regurgitating any undigested food or liquids are greatly reduced. Some anesthetics interfere with your normal reflexes so that your body's automatic defenses may not be working.
- Your doctor will tell you specifically whether you can or cannot eat and drink and for how long. In addition, the anesthesiologist may instruct you to take certain medications with a little water during your fasting time.
- For your own safety, it is very important that you follow these
instructions carefully about fasting and medications; if not it may be necessary to postpone surgery. In general, you will be asked to not eat or drink anything 8 hours before surgery
Frequently Asked Questions