Anesthesia

Samaritan Medical Center Surgical Care Department understands that every patient is anxious before a surgery or procedure – no matter if it is major or minor. When you are in need of surgery or a procedure performed, the chances are you will need some type of anesthesia to help manage pain and help your comfort level. There are many different types of anesthesia. Which one you will need depends on a variety of factors including, allergies, length of surgery, the location of the surgery, and your state of health.

Some surgical procedures require only an injection of local anesthesia into the incision area. Other procedures require general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. Your anesthesiologist will help deciding which type of anesthesia you need.

There are several types of anesthesia that Samaritan Medical Center and the physicians of Jefferson Anesthesiologist Services utilize. This decision depends on many factors, including the type of surgery or procedure you are having, your complete medical history, and others. Your medical history is a very important piece to determine which anesthesia you need and is covered during your pre-admission testing.

Anesthesia is divided into four basic categories:

• regional anesthesia
• local anesthesia
• sedation
• general anesthesia

Regional anesthesia blocks pain in an area of the body, such as an arm or legs, and is often used in childbirth with a spinal or epidural. The anesthesia used numbs a portion of the body and the patient is awake and alert for the surgery or procedure. Regional anesthesia is used for longer surgical procedures.

Benefits:

  • Your body can remain in a comfortable position during your procedure.
  • Fewer side effects and a shorter recovery than you would have from general anesthesia.
  • You are awake for the procedure

Side effects:

  • There is a risk of spinal headache during recovery
  • Takes longer to wear off

Local anesthesia numbs one small area of the body during a surgery or procedure and the patient stays awake and alert.

Benefits:

  • Numbness and loss of sensation at the surgical site

Side effects:

  • Possible redness and swelling at injection site

Sedation anesthesia (Conscious or intravenous (IV)) uses a mild sedative to relax you and pain medicine to relieve pain. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterward.

Benefits:

  • Provides an altered state of consciousness that minimizes pain and discomfort

Side effects:

  • Possible headache, hangover, nausea and vomiting

General anesthesia is given through injections and inhalation techniques and affects your whole body. A patient will go to sleep and feel nothing. You have no memory of the procedure afterward.

Benefits:

  • Induces sleep that keeps the patient from feeling any pain

Side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting is a common problem during recovery
  • Patients may feel drowsy, weak or tired for several days after the operation
  • Fuzzy thinking, blurred vision and coordination problems are also possible

Please be sure to speak with your doctor about the anesthesia options you have. Please be aware that all anesthesia options have risks and benefits and you can learn more about each by visiting the U.S. National Library of Medicine 

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