5 questions about anesthesia

Anesthesia is used to make you emotionally and physically comfortable during surgery. It can relieve anxiety, block pain and, in some cases, put you in an unconscious state so that you aren’t aware of and don’t remember your surgery. Anesthesia can also help achieve better results for patients undergoing non-surgical procedures. For example, if you need to hold your breath to ensure a clear, accurate image, your doctor may recommend anesthesia to help relax your muscles.  We talked with Elizabeth Rebello, M.D., about types of anesthesia, potential side effects and how best to prepare. Here’s what she shared. What are the types of anesthesia? There are four types of anesthesia: Local anesthesia — You’ll receive an injection that is isolated to the area of the procedure. The drug will numb only that area, and you’ll remain conscious. Monitored anesthesia (a.k.a. twilight anesthesia) — Medications for sedation and pain relief are given to make you feel calm and relaxed, but you may hear what’s going on around you. An anesthesia provider is present throughout the procedure. Regional anesthesia — By combining local anesthetics with other medications, we can provide nerve blocks to a larger area of the body. This type of anesthesia is frequently used during a procedure and for postoperative pain relief. We commonly use this technique with surgeries performed on the breasts, abdominal area and brain. General anesthesia —We render you fully unconscious so you’re in a sleep-like state. You’ll be unable to recall the procedure when you wake. The type of anesthesia you receive will depend on the procedure you undergo. How is anesthesia administered? It depends...