Anesthesia

Pills

General anesthesia, monitored anesthesia care, regional anesthesia, or local anesthesia will usually be used by the anesthesiologist or your surgeon for your procedure.

General anesthesia results in unconsciousness.

Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) usually involves the use of IV medication(s) during a procedure to relieve anxiety (sedatives) or pain (analgesics).

Regional anesthesia (such as spinal, epidural, nerve block) involves the injection of medication(s) into the spinal area or around nerves to produce numbness.

Local anesthesia involves the injection or medication around nerves to produce numbness in the area of the incision.

Benefits

You might receive the following benefits from anesthesia. Doctors cannot guarantee you will receive any of these benefits. Only you can decide if the benefits are worth the risk.

  • Control of pain
  • Reduced apprehension
  • Maintenance of stable vital signs
  • Unconsciousness during the procedure if under general anesthesia

Risks

Risks of sedation and analgesia are well-recognized, but there also may be risks not included in this list that are unforeseen by your doctors.

  • You may experience respiratory difficulty.
  • You may develop decreased blood pressure, requiring treatment that may consist of administering intravenous fluid or medication. Either of these treatments may require that you be transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) until you are stable.
  • You may develop adverse reaction(s) to the sedatives/analgesics that may result in nausea, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, allergic reaction, skin rash, fever, cardiac arrhythmia requiring drug treatment, cardiac arrest, or coma.

In addition to the above, risks of general anesthesia include, but are not limited to:

  • Dental damage
  • Sore throat or hoarseness; injury to the skin, lip, or eye(s)
  • Itching, aspiration/pneumonia, bleeding, infection, lung collapse, injury to blood vessels, heart attack, or stroke
  • Coma and death from complications of the procedure

In addition to the above, risks of regional anesthesia (e.g., spinal, epidural, or nerve block) include, but are not limited to:

  • Headache or backache; these symptoms usually subside in a short time, but in some cases may persist
  • Nerve damage, which may require further treatment that may or may not correct
    the problem
  • Failure to achieve an adequate nerve block, which may require that the block
    be repeated or that general anesthesia be given

Alternatives

The alternatives to sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia include:

  • Undergoing the planned procedure without intravenous or regional anesthesia or analgesia (for example, with local anesthesia alone, if feasible)
  • Reevaluating the need for the planned procedure with your doctor