What Are The Types of Anesthesia?

There are several types of anesthetic techniques available for your surgery. The anesthesia technique recommended will depend on several factors. In some cases, the surgical procedure will dictate what kind of anesthesia will be needed. There are four anesthetic options:

  • General Anesthesia

    This anesthetic choice produces unconsciousness so that you will not feel, see, or hear anything during the surgical procedure. The anesthetic medications are given to you through an intravenous line, through an anesthetic mask, or by a breathing tube. Often, this is referred to as sleep. However, this is not sleep, but a medically induced state of unconsciousness, where the vital functions are supported by the anesthesia provider.

  • Regional Anesthesia

    This technique produces numbness with the injection of local anesthesia around nerves in a region (or part) of the body corresponding to the surgical procedure. Epidural or spinal blocks anesthetize the abdomen and both lower extremities. Other nerve blocks may be done with the nerves in the arms or legs to anesthetize individual extremities. With regional anesthesia, medications can be given that will make you comfortable, drowsy, and blur your memory.

  • Monitored Anesthesia Care

    With this approach, you usually receive pain medication and sedatives through your intravenous line from your anesthesiologist. This is often referred to as "twilight sleep". The surgeon will also inject local anesthesia at the operative site, which will produce additional pain control during and immediately after the procedure. While you are sedated, your anesthesiologist will monitor your vital body functions.

  • Local Anesthesia

    The surgeon will inject local anesthetic to provide numbness at the surgical site. In this case, there may be no anesthesia team member with you.

Anesthesia Care Team

You may be surprised to learn that anesthesiologists are physicians. They are educated as either medical (MD) or osteopathic (DO) doctors who have completed 4 years of anesthesia residency. (12 or 13 years of post-high school education) Many have additional fellowships in specialized areas such as cardiothoracic anesthesia, pain management or critical care. Anesthesiologists are primarily responsible for the patient's safety and well-being before, during, and after surgery. The anesthesiologist may delegate patient monitoring and appropriate tasks while maintaining overall responsibility for the patient. The anesthesiologist is also responsible for fluid and blood replacement, when necessary.

Other members of the Care Team include Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) who are RNs who have experience in critical care and post graduate education in the administration of anesthetics. Anesthesia Assistants (AA) have a master's degree in the administration of anesthetics in conjunction with an anesthesiologist.

Before Your Surgery

Eating, Drinking or Taking Medicine

As a general rule, you should not eat or drink anything before your surgery. Under some circumstances, the anesthesiologist, in conjunction with the surgeon will instruct you to drink specific liquids up to a few hours before your anesthetic. If you smoke, please refrain. Cigarette smoke decreases your body's ability to transport oxygen in the blood. In addition, refraining from smoking for up to six weeks may restore some lung function prior to surgery. Also, there are some medications that should be taken and others should not. It is important to discuss this with your anesthesiologist. Do not interrupt medications unless your anesthesiologist or surgeon recommends it.

Possible Side Effects

The amount of discomfort you experience will depend on a number of factors, especially the type of surgery. Pain can be relieved after your surgery with medicines. Your discomfort should be tolerable, but do not expect to be totally pain-free. Nausea and vomiting may be related to anesthesia, the type of surgical procedure, or postoperative pain medications. Although less of a problem today because of improved anesthetic agents and techniques, these side effects continue to occur for some patients.

Medications to minimize postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting are given by your anesthesiologist during the surgical procedure and in recovery. If you have any known allergies to medication, it is crucial to discuss this with your anesthesiologist.

Preoperative Interview

Anesthesia and surgery affect your entire system, so it is important for your anesthesiologist to know as much about you as possible. During a preoperative visit, an anesthesiologist will carefully evaluate you and your medical history and will inquire about your recent prescription and over the counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. In addition, this physician will inform you about the procedures associated with your surgery, discuss the anesthetic choices, their risks and benefits, order appropriate laboratory tests, and prescribe medication for you, if needed, before your operation.

You will meet your anesthesiologist immediately before your surgery who will review your medical chart for a clear understanding of your needs and medical condition.

After Your Surgery

Your anesthesiologist continues to be responsible for your care in the recovery room, often called the post-anesthesia care unit where your condition and vital signs are monitored as the effects of the anesthetic wear off. Your anesthesiologist will determine when you are able to leave the recovery room.

Age Risk

All anesthetic techniques have some risks associated with them. More important than your age are such factors as your medical condition and your type of surgery.

Anesthesia Risk in Children

Recently, there has been publicity regarding the potential for adverse developmental effects of anesthetics on children. The International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) is addressing this issue. For more information, please see the Smart Tots website http://smarttots.org.


Patient Awareness Under General Anesthesia

This is a rare condition that occurs when surgical patients can recall their surroundings or an event- sometimes even pain-related to their surgery while they were under general anesthesia. Under certain conditions including trauma or emergency situations using a deep anesthetic may not be in the best interest of the patient and awareness may not be completely avoidable. Patients should share with their anesthesia professional any problems that they may have experienced with previous anesthetics. It is crucial that the anesthesiologist know all medications, whether prescription, over the counter, herbs, vitamins, alcohol or mood altering drugs, in order to safely formulate a patient's anesthesia plan.

Please note that Regional Anesthesia and Monitored Anesthesia Care are not intended to induce unconsciousness and amnesia, and may be associated with recall of events in the operating room. However, the provision of intravenous sedative medications are intended to ensure comfort during the procedure.


Our office staff will work with you or designated family member prior to your surgery to collect any needed billing information and to make special arrangements needed to secure payment for our professional services.

Depending on the requirements of your insurance company, the professional fees for your anesthesia may be split between members of our Anesthesia Care Team. If a CRNA or AA assisted the anesthesiologist during your surgery the services on your bill from us and your explanation of benefits from your insurance may reflect the services of both an anesthesiologist and the CRNA or AA. This is not a duplicate charge or a double payment. The correct total amount of charges or payments is split between the two providers. If you have a co pay due, it is also split between the two providers.

Should you have questions about your professional anesthesia bill please contact our billing office directly at 1-866-286-2120 or our local office at 330-499-5700. Visit our Billing page for more information and an example of what the invoice will look like.

Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact our office directly if you have any questions whether billing or medically related either before or after your surgery.


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Tuesday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Wednesday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Thursday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

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