Information about Anesthesia

The purpose of your anesthesia team is to keep you safe and comfortable around the time of your surgery.  Your anesthesia team will be your advocate while you are asleep and will collaborate with your surgeon to help you have the best outcome possible.  Someone from your anesthesia team will be with your continuously while you are in the operating room and monitor you closely.  We will give you medicine to keep you asleep, pain medicine to keep you comfortable, IV fluids, blood products (if necessary), and any other special medications needed to treat your medical conditions during surgery.  Additionally, your anesthesia team will manage your heart, blood pressure, and breathing while you are in the operating room.

During your surgical procedure you will need one of three main types of anesthesia: general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, or monitored anesthesia care (MAC).  Your anesthesiologist will evaluate you individually and discuss your anesthetic options for surgery.

  • General Anesthesia: medication is given to make you unconscious and you do not wake up to pain
  • Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC): sedation, commonly referred to as “twilight sleep.” You receive medication to make you sleepy and less anxious, but you are not completely unconscious.  Because you are not unconscious, you may remember conversations or things from surgery and this is normal.
  • Regional Anesthesia: an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is given near a nerve in order to numb a large area of your body. This is a common option for orthopedic surgery.  Regional anesthesia may be combined with general anesthesia, MAC anesthesia, or no sedation at all.

The most common types of regional anesthesia are:

  • Spinal Anesthesia: local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is injected into the fluid around the spinal cord to numb a large part of the body for several hours
  • Epidural Anesthesia: local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is injected into the space just before the spinal cord. A small catheter is often placed in this space and it gives you a continuous infusion of local anesthetic to help with pain control after surgery. This epidural catheter can remain in place for days.
  • Peripheral Nerve Block: local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is injected near a nerve in the neck, arm, abdomen, or leg to numb that part of the body. A single injection usually lasts around 12-16 hours.  Sometimes a small catheter is placed during a peripheral nerve block and it provides additional local anesthetic for several days.

More Information on Anesthesia

* The following information is provided by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.