Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Types of Anesthesia

Usually in operative report and procedure notes, we come across terms like local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia.  What is the difference between all of these?

Here's a basic look at each kind:

Local anesthesia. An anesthetic drug (which can be given as a shot, spray, or ointment) numbs only a small, specific area of the body (for example, a foot, hand, or patch of skin). With local anesthesia, a person is awake or sedated, depending on what is needed. Local anesthesia lasts for a short period of time and is often used for minor outpatient procedures (when patients come in for surgery and can go home that same day). For someone having outpatient surgery in a clinic or doctor's office (such as the dentist or dermatologist), this is probably the type of anesthetic used. The medicine used can numb the area during the procedure and for a short time afterwards to help control post-surgery discomfort.

Regional anesthesia. An anesthetic drug is injected near a cluster of nerves, numbing a larger area of the body (such as below the waist, like epidurals given to women in labor). Regional anesthesia is generally used to make a person more comfortable during and after the surgical procedure. Regional and general anesthesia are often combined.

General anesthesia. The goal is to make and keep a person completely unconscious (or "asleep") during the operation, with no awareness or memory of the surgery. General anesthesia can be given through an IV (which requires sticking a needle into a vein, usually in the arm) or by inhaling gases or vapors by breathing into a mask or tube.

source:  http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/medical_care/anesthesia_types.html


  1. hi dhiru bhai, I think the second sentence has an error... "Local anesthesia" is missing..

  2. thnx buddy....rectified....:-)