Anesthesia is broken down into three main categories: local, regional, and general, all of which affect the nervous system in some way and can be administered using various methods and different medications.
Here's a basic look at each kind:
The anesthesiologist will be there before, during, and after the operation to monitor the anesthetic and ensure you constantly receive the right dose. With general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist uses a combination of various medications to do things like:
To better understand how the different types of anesthesia work, it may help to learn a little about the nervous system. If you think of the brain as a central computer that controls all the functions of your body, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth from it to different parts of the body. It does this via the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down through the backbone and contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.
Often, anesthesiologists may give a person a sedative to help them feel sleepy or relaxed before a procedure. Then, people who are getting general anesthesia may be given medication through a mask or breathing tube first and then given an IV after they're asleep. Why? Because many people are afraid of needles and may have a hard time staying still and calm.
The type and amount of anesthesia given to you will be specifically tailored to your needs and will depend on various factors, including:
The anesthesiologist can discuss the options available, and he or she will make the decision based on your individual needs and best interests.
Reviewed by: Judith A. Jones, MD
Date reviewed: April 2012
|National Institutes of Health (NIH) NIH is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and offers health information and scientific resources.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American College of Surgeons The website of the American College of Surgeons provides consumer information about common surgeries such as appendectomy.|
|Anesthesia - What to Expect Here's a quick look at what may happen before, during, and after an operation or procedure.|
|Anesthesia Basics Knowing the basics of anesthesia may help answer your questions and ease some concerns.|
|What's It Like to Stay in the Hospital? Scheduled for a hospital stay? Knowing what to expect can make it a little easier.|
|What's It Like to Have Surgery? Knowing what to expect with surgery before you get to the hospital can make you less anxious about your surgical experience - and less stress helps a person recover faster.|
|Who's Who in the Hospital There are so many different medical specialties that it's easy to feel confused. Here's a guide to some of the experts who care for you in the hospital.|
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