Anesthesia Overview

Anesthesia controls pain during surgery or other medical procedures. It includes using medicines, and sometimes close monitoring, to keep you comfortable. It can also help control breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm, when needed.
An anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist takes charge of your comfort and safety during surgery. This topic focuses on anesthesia care that you get from these specialists.
Anesthesia may be used to:
•    Relax you.
•    Block pain.
•    Make you sleepy or forgetful.
•    Make you unconscious for your surgery.

What Determines the type of Anesthesia Used?

The type of anesthesia used depends on several things:
•    Your past and current health. The doctor or nurse will consider other surgeries you have had and any health problems you have, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. You also will be asked whether you or any family members have had an allergic reaction to any anesthetics or medicines.
•    The reason for your surgery and the type of surgery.
•    The results of tests, such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG).
Your doctor or nurse may prefer one type of anesthesia over another for your surgery. In some cases, your doctor or nurse may let you choose which type to have.