During surgery, you will be given some form of anesthesia, which is medication administered for the relief of pain and sensation during surgery. The type and dosage of anesthesia is administered by the anesthetist. When a patient faces surgery, he or she will meet with the nurse anesthetist before the procedure. The anesthetist will review the patient’s medical condition and history to plan the appropriate anesthetic for surgery.
There are various forms of anesthesia. The type of anesthesia you will receive will depend on the type of surgery and your medical condition. The different types of anesthesia include the following:
- Minimal Sedation (Local anesthesia). Local anesthesia is an anesthetic agent 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, doctors may use regional anesthetics.
- Moderate Sedation (Conscious Sedation). Moderate sedation is a drug induced depression of consciousness during which the patient responds purposefully to verbal and tactile commands and stimulation. (reflex withdrawal from pain is not considered a purposeful response) Moderate sedation is a combination of medicines designed to help you relax and block out pain. Moderate sedation is administered either through an intravenous line (IV in a vein) or a shot into a muscle.
- Deep Sedation. Deep sedation is a drug induced depression of consciousness during which the patient cannot be easily aroused. The ability to independently maintain ventilator function may be impaired. Deep sedation is administered through an intravenous line (IV in a vein).
- General anesthesia. General anesthesia is an anesthetic used to induce unconsciousness during surgery. The medication is either inhaled through a breathing mask or tube, or administered through an intravenous line (a thin plastic tube inserted into a vein, usually in the patient’s forearm). A breathing tube may be inserted into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during surgery. Once the surgery is complete, the anesthesiologist ceases the anesthetic and the patient is taken to the recovery room for further monitoring.
Any questions or concerns can be discussed with the nurse anesthetist (CRNA).