If you are having surgery, your doctor will give you medicine called an anesthetic. Anesthetics reduce or prevent pain. There are three main types:
- Local - numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.
- Regional - blocks pain in an area of the body, such an arm or leg. A common type is epidural anesthesia, which is often used during childbirth.
- General - makes you unconscious. You do not feel any pain, and you do not remember the procedure afterwards.
You may also get a mild sedative to relax you. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards. Sedation can be used with or without anesthesia.
The type of anesthesia or sedation you get depends on many factors. They include the procedure you are having and your current health.
- Anesthesia After 40 Not Linked to Mental Decline Later, Study Finds (01/20/2016, HealthDay)
- After Anesthesia: The Patient's Active Role Assists in Recovery (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists) - PDF
- Anesthesia & Down Syndrome (National Down Syndrome Society)
- Before Anesthesia: The Patient's Active Role Makes a Difference (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists) - PDF
- Effects of Anesthesia (American Society of Anesthesiologists)
- Preanesthesia Questionnaire (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists)
- Spinal Headaches (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Statistics and Research
- Anesthesia (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Anesthesia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Pregnancy and Anesthesia (American Society of Anesthesiologists)