Types of Anesthesia
Anesthesia involves the use of medicines to block pain sensations (analgesia) during surgery and other medical procedures. Anesthesia also reduces many of your body’s normal stress reactions to surgery.
The type of anesthesia used for your surgery depends on:
- Your medical history, including other surgeries you have had and any conditions you have (such as diabetes). You will also be asked whether you have had any allergic reactions to any anesthetics or medicines or whether any family members have had reactions to anesthetics.
- The results of your physical exam. A physical exam will be done to evaluate your current health and identify any potential risks or complications that may affect your anesthesia care.
- Tests such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG), if needed.
- The type of surgery that you are having.
- You need to be able to lie still and remain calm during surgery done with local or regional anesthesia.
- Young children usually cannot stay still during surgery and need general anesthesia.
- Adults who are extremely anxious, in pain, or have muscle disorders also may have difficulty remaining relaxed and cooperative.
- Some surgical procedures require specific positions that may be uncomfortable for long periods if you are awake.
- Some procedures require the use of medicines that cause muscle relaxation and affect your ability to breathe on your own. In such cases, your breathing can best be supported if general anesthesia is used.
Based on your medical condition, your anesthesia specialist may prefer one type of anesthesia over another for your surgery. When the risks and benefits of different anesthesia options are equal, your anesthesia specialist may let you choose the type of anesthesia.