• What is anesthesia?
    Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery. Certain medical procedures may require the use of anesthetics. Anesthetics are drugs that reduce or prevent pain. There are four main types of anesthesia:
    • Local: This type of anesthesia numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.
    • Conscious or intravenous (IV) sedation: This type of anesthesia uses a mild sedative to relax you and pain medicine to relieve pain. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards.
    • Regional: This type of anesthesia blocks pain in an area of the body such as an arm or leg. Epidural anesthesia, which is sometimes used during childbirth, is a type of regional anesthesia.
    • General: This type of anesthesia affects your whole body. You go to sleep and will have no memory of the procedure afterwards.
  • Is anesthesia safe?

    Anesthesia today is very safe. Over the past several decades, the specialty of anesthesiology has made great strides in improving safety through the use of newer medications and better monitors. The risk of anesthesia is related to a patient's medical status, the type of surgery being performed, and the level of anesthesia required. In very rare cases, anesthesia can cause complications such as strange heart rhythms, breathing problems, allergic reactions to medications, and even death. Most complications can usually be prevented by simply providing the anesthesiologist with complete information before the surgery about things like:

    • Current and past health conditions

    • Any medications you are taking (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements)

    • Any allergies (including allergies to medications, food allergies, or latex allergies)

    • Any use of tobacco, alcohol or recreational drugs.

    • Any previous reactions that you or a family member has had to anesthesia