Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics.

Anesthesia may be used to:

  • Relax you
  • Block pain
  • Make you sleepy or forgetful
  • Make you unconscious for your surgery
  • Other medicines may be used along with anesthesia, such as ones to help you relax or to reverse the effects of anesthesia

Types of Anesthesia

Local Anesthesia

Numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.

Conscious or intravenous (IV) sedation

Uses a mild sedative to relax you and pain medicine to relieve pain. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards.

Regional anesthesia

Blocks pain in an area of the body, such an arm or leg. Epidural anesthesia, which is sometimes used during childbirth, is a type of regional anesthesia.

General anesthesia

Affects your whole body. You go to sleep and feel nothing. You have no memory of the procedure afterwards. The type of anesthesia your doctor chooses depends on many factors. These include the procedure you are having and your current health.