3 Facts About Anesthesia You Should Know

  1. Anesthesia can be delivered in many different ways

While some may have a certain vision of how anesthesia is given to a patient, there are multiple ways that anesthetics can be administered to patients depending on the procedure and type of pain relief needed. Some of these methods include gas inhaled through a mask, a catheter near the spinal cord, injection, topical lotion/spray, eye drops, and skin patches.

  1. There are 4 different types of anesthesia 

Many people don’t know that there are actually multiple options when it comes to anesthesia that affect different parts of the body: 

General anesthesia, given through inhaled gas or an intravenous line, affects the whole body and leaves patients fully unconscious, making this most ideal for long and complicated surgeries. 

Monitored sedation, given through an intravenous line, is similar to general anesthesia, though patients might not be fully unconscious depending on the level of sedation needed. This is mostly used for procedures such as colonoscopies and complex dental work. 

Regional anesthesia, given through injection or a catheter, is used to numb the part of the body that the procedure is being performed on. Patients are left conscious and comfortable through the entire procedure. Regional anesthesia is commonly used for hand and joint procedures, as well as c-sections. 

Local anesthesia, given through injection, topical lotion/spray, eye drops, or skin patches, is used to numb a very small area of the body. Patients remain awake and comfortable, and this is commonly used to block pain to a single tooth or for a part of skin that needs stitches. 

  1. “Waking up” during surgery is very uncommon and doesn’t result in pain

While some may have a fear of waking up and gaining consciousness during surgery, this is actually very uncommon, as there are tons of precautions that take place pre-surgery to prevent this from happening. Patients who have experienced this occurrence known as “anesthesia awareness” reported to be aware of their surroundings, though for a very minimal amount of time (less than 5 minutes) and they felt no pain.