How Anesthesia Works

Anesthesia is a mystery to most of us, even if we’ve been anesthetized before. Read on to learn and discover more about this amazing process.


Monitored Anesthesia Care is a type of sedation that is administered through an IV to make a patient sleepy and calm during a procedure.  The patient is typically awake, but groggy, and are able to follow instructions as needed.  The level of sedation provided with this type of anesthesia can range from light, where the patient just feels very relaxed, to heavy, where the patient is unaware of what is happening and only rouses to significant stimulation.  Because the level of sedation varies, the process has an  anesthesia professional in constant attendance monitoring the patient’s vital signs and maintaining or adjusting the level of sedation as needed.


Regional anesthesia is the loss of sensation in a region of the body produced by application of an anesthetic agent to all the nerves or cluster of nerves supplying that region.  This will numb the area of your body that requires surgery.  You may remain awake or be given a sedative.  Whichever method is chosen as the best for you, you will not feel the surgery being performed.  There are several different kinds of regional anesthesia, spinal and epidural are the most common.


This is done by a number of general anesthesia drugs.  Sometimes this medicine is given through an IV and others are inhaled.  Whichever combination is considered the best for you, it insures that you are unaware of any pain caused by the surgery and also prevents movement during surgery.

Post-Op Pain Control

Peripheral nerve blocks are used to control pain from surgery.  This helps with faster recovery times.  A single shot, multiple single shots, or a continuous catheter may be used.  A single shot has a shorter delivery period while the continuous in-dwelling catheter will deliver numbing medicine continuously for a period of several days.  Your anesthesiologist will determine which nerves will be blocked, what medications will be used, and the delivery method that will give you optimum pain relief.  These are most frequently used after orthopedic surgery.  The request for this service is done by your surgeon.