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Anesthetic Techniques

Anesthetic Techniques

The anesthetic technique that will be used will be dependent on the type and length of the procedure, your medical history, and personal preference.

Regardless of the method of anesthesia used, your anesthesiologist will continuously monitor you to keep you safe and as comfortable as possible from the beginning to the end of your procedure.

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General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is a form of anesthesia that induces unconsciousness and unawareness of pain. There are different ways the anesthetic is administered. In most cases, patients are given a sedative intravenously (IV). Once asleep additional anesthetic is administered through the IV, through inhalation, or a combination of both.

Patients that are under general anesthesia typically require the use of a breathing device because the entire body becomes unaware and needs assistance to breathe. In almost all cases, the breathing apparatus is positioned while the patient is asleep and removed before they wake.

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Spinal Anesthesia

Spinal Anesthesia is a form of regional anesthesia that is used for surgery below the navel. A very fine needle is used to place a local anesthetic in the spine, which numbs the nerves that serve the lower body. Both sensation and the ability to move the lower extremities are blocked. A sedative is often given prior to the spinal to reduce any pre-procedure anxiety.

The length of the spinal’s effects on the body and the type of anesthetic used will be determined by the procedure that is performed.

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An epidural is a small, thin catheter that is placed in a specific space in the back by an anesthesiologist. Numbing medications are infused through the catheter to provide anesthesia for either a surgical procedure or for post-surgery pain control.

Unlike a spinal, which usually administers a single dose of anesthesia, the epidural catheter can stay in place for several days or even a week if needed, providing around the clock pain relief. When used, the lower body feels “asleep,” with a slight tingling sensation affecting the legs and buttocks.

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Peripheral Nerve Block

A peripheral nerve block (PNB) is a pain relief procedure that is most commonly used for orthopedic surgeries and is proven to be both safe and exceptionally effective. The PNB can be used in conjunction with other types of anesthesia or may be the sole anesthetic technique employed. Essentially a nerve or a bundle of nerves is numbed using a local anesthetic, therefore blocking the pain to that specific area for a period of time.

There are different types of PNBs, depending upon the situation and procedure. In many cases, PNB incorporates the use of ultrasound to allow the anesthesiologist to see the specific nerve(s) to be blocked from pain, to guide the injection, and to confirm that the anesthetic placement was accurate.

PNB typically lasts 12 to 24 hours, therefore maximizing post-operative pain relief. Patients may have decreased sensation to touch, heat, cold, and pain during this period, and may also experience a tingling sensation.

Recognizing that each patient has individual needs, the anesthesiologist will explain in detail the exact block to be used for your case prior to doing the PNB.

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Sedation/Managed Anesthesia Care

Managed Anesthesia Care (MAC), otherwise known as “twilight” anesthesia, encompasses a wide continuum of sedation. It differs from general anesthesia in that no breathing apparatus is typically required, and a patient may be awakened through stimulation.

This form of anesthesia is administered through an intravenous line and is most often used for colonoscopies/endoscopies, cataract surgery, biopsies, and other less invasive procedures.

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