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Anesthesia

Anesthesiologists are licensed medical doctors who specialize in anesthetics and are highly trained in providing pain relief and total care before, during and after surgery. The anesthesiologist will be with you from the time you enter the operating room until the surgery is complete and you are in recovery. The anesthesiologist keeps you comfortable during and after surgery and protects and regulates critical life functions, such as your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Types of anesthesia

General anesthesia. General anesthesia anesthetizes the entire body. You are asleep and have no awareness of the surgical procedure.

Regional anesthesia. With regional anesthesia, the anesthesiologist injects medication near a cluster of nerves to numb only a specific area of the body. Examples of regional anesthesia include a spinal block, an epidural and a block of a specific nerve or set of nerves.

Local anesthesia. For some surgical procedures, a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin and tissues to numb a specific location. Regional and local anesthesia may be combined with intravenous sedation to make you drowsy or asleep.

The anesthesiologist, in consultation with the surgeon, determines the best type of anesthesia for you. If you have specific questions about this, please ask the anesthesiologist.

Pre-anesthesia holding area (PAH pronounced “PAW”)

If your procedure requires additional monitoring or specialized equipment, you will be taken to the pre-anesthesia holding area before going to the operating room. A registered nurse will assist the anesthesiologist in any procedures that need to be completed prior to surgery.