Also known as:
Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. It can help control your breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm.
What are the types of anesthesia?
- Local anesthesia numbs a small part of the body for minor procedures. For example, you may get a shot of medicine directly into the surgical area to block pain. You may stay awake during the procedure.
- Regional anesthesia blocks pain to a larger part of your body. You may also get medicine to help you relax or sleep. Types of regional anesthesia include:
- Peripheral nerve blocks This is a shot of anesthetic to block pain around a specific nerve or group of nerves. Blocks are often used for procedures on the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face.
- Epidural and spinal anesthesia This is a shot of anesthetic near the spinal cord and the nerves that connect to it. It blocks pain from an entire region of the body, such as the belly, hips, or legs.
- General anesthesia affects your brain and the rest of your body. You may get some anesthetics through a vein (intravenously, or IV), and you may breathe in some anesthetics. With general anesthesia, you're unconscious and you don't feel pain during the surgery.