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Anesthesia

 

 
 

If you are having surgery, your doctor will give you a drug called an anesthetic. Anesthetics reduce or prevent pain. There are four main types.

  • Local: numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.
  • Conscious or intravenous (IV) sedation: uses a mild sedative to relax you and pain medicine to relieve pain. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards.
  • Regional anesthesia: blocks pain in an area of the body, such an arm or leg. Epidural anesthesia, which is sometimes used during childbirth, is a type of regional anesthesia.
  • General anesthesia: affects your whole body. You go to sleep and feel nothing. You have no memory of the procedure afterwards.

The type of anesthesia your doctor chooses depends on many factors. These include the procedure you are having and your current health.

 

 

 
 
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Photograph of two female surgeons preparing for surgery

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  • MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.

 

 

 

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.