Anesthetics are special medicines used to help block pain in all or part of your body during surgery. There are three basic categories of anesthesia: local, regional and general. Talk with your anesthesiologist about which type will work best for you.

  • Local anesthesia blocks feelings of pain at the site where surgery is performed. It numbs a small part of your body and is frequently used for procedures such as biopsies, hernia repairs and eye surgeries. Sometimes, additional medication may be given for its calming effect.
  • Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a larger portion of the body. A spinal anesthetic, for example, will block pain in the lower body and could be used during procedures ranging from bladder to prostate to knee surgery. Patients may also be given additional medication to help calm them.
  • General anesthesia produces a state of unconsciousness in patients. It can be used in all types of surgeries, both major and minor.

Anesthesiologists work to provide the safest possible pain relief for patients and the best operating conditions for surgeons. During surgery, your anesthesiologist will be responsible for regulating your anesthesia, monitoring your vital functions and taking care of your overall medical well-being.

As you prepare for surgery, your surgeon and anesthesiologist will be able to answer any questions you may have about anesthesia.