What is General Anesthesia?
The term general anesthesia usually implies you have been made unconscious and the anesthesiologist is supporting some of your vital functions. A breathing tube is often used. The level of “sleep” may be more profound than that used during sedation.
What Do You Mean By Regional Anesthesia?
A regional anesthetic is one whereby a local anesthetic like Xylocaine®, is used to numb an area. Types of regional anesthetics include spinal, epidural and nerve blocks. You may or may not be asleep during the procedure. Some individuals may actually want to watch a procedure while others prefer to be asleep.
What is Monitored Anesthesia Care?
Monitored anesthesia care, or MAC, is used when an anesthesiologist is monitoring your vital physiologic functions. It may also involve the use of sedatives or other therapies required for you to safely undergo a procedure.
Which Type of Anesthesia is Safest?
Unless you have certain existing medical conditions, no one type of anesthesia is safer than another. There are some surgical procedures that patients may do better overall with a specific type of anesthesia. (For example, there is a decreased need for blood transfusion when a regional anesthetic is used for total hip replacement.)
I am afraid of a spinal; I know somebody who became paralyzed.
The risk of permanent paralysis after spinal anesthesia in patients without bleeding disorders is extremely rare.
Will the Spinal or Epidural Hurt?
The needle used for spinal or epidural anesthesia is generally smaller than the intravenous needle that is inserted prior to any anesthetic. Except when given for labor and C-section, the anesthesiologist may be able to sedate you prior to beginning the spinal or epidural.
I don’t care what kind of anesthesia I have, I just want to be asleep.
You can be asleep during the surgical procedure and still have a regional anesthetic or MAC.
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