Anesthesia keeps you comfortable during your operation. Your anesthesia depends on your type of surgery and your medical history. There are three main types of anesthesia: general, regional, and local or monitored anesthesia care.
General anesthesia means the entire body is "asleep" for surgery. This usually occurs in two stages. First, you are given a short-acting intravenous drug that will make you drift pleasantly off to sleep and lose awareness of what is going on around you. The second stage of general anesthesia keeps you asleep through your surgery.
Regional anesthesia numbs certain areas of the body so you do not feel pain. Common types of regional anesthesia are epidural, and spinal as well as peripheral nerve blocks such as a shoulder block. With regional anesthesia, you may be awake and aware, OR you may receive medication that will make you drowsy or keep you in a light sleep.
Local Anesthesia or Monitored Anesthesia Care
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is the "twilight sleep". During MAC anesthesia you get medicine through your IV that keeps you asleep. This type of anesthesia is commonly used for colonoscopy and cataract surgery.
Local numbs only a part of your body. It may be injected into the skin, or applied to the skin, or eye drops. The surgeon can also inject local anesthetic to help numb under the incision for surgery and recovery.