The anesthesiology team plans and provides anesthetic to patients requiring anesthesia during their care. This team consists of anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified anesthesia technicians. In addition to providing surgical anesthesia, the members of the Anesthesia Department also give assistance with airway management, intravenous access and labor analgesia.
The anesthesia a patient receives for surgery will depend on their physical condition and the procedure they are undergoing. A member of the anesthesia care team will meet with the patient prior to surgery to discuss past
health information, explain any risks and discuss anesthesia options.
There are three general categories of anesthesia:
1. Local anesthesia
This form is used to numb a small part of your body, allowing you to remain fully alert, and are short- lived. Typically, local anesthetics are used for office procedures, such as dental work, skin biopsies or stitching a cut.
2. Regional anesthesia
This form is used to block sensation in a particular region of your body. The anesthesia is injected around a single nerve or cluster of nerves that branch out and serve that area. Intravenous (IV) sedation also may be used to relax you and make you feel fairly sleepy during the placement of the regional block. Spinal and epidural are two common regional procedures that involve injecting an anesthetic near the nerves as they leave the spinal cord, effectively numbing the lower half of your body. These are commonly used for pelvic operations, leg and hip surgeries, and childbirth.
3. General Anesthesia
This form is appropriate for more extensive surgeries that require you to be unconscious. The drugs used in general anesthesia are given intravenously or inhaled through a mask. They act as hypnotics, painkillers and muscle relaxants, and they block the memory of a surgery.
Will I be safe when I'm sleeping?
Monitoring equipment has dramatically improved the safety of anesthesia. Routine monitors used for all anesthetics include measurement of your blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and oxygen saturation. Supplemental oxygen is used for all patients receiving sedative medications. Our primary goal is patient safety and the monitors provide early detection of possible problems.
Recovering from anesthesia
After surgery you are taken to a post- anesthesia care unit (PACU) where you will be cared for by skilled nursing staff, under the supervision of the anesthesiologist. Mayo Clinic Health System's anesthesia staff is trained in postoperative pain management and uses the latest pain control techniques.