Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Types of Anesthesia

Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is usually classified into one of four types: general, regional, sedation or local. The type of anesthesia administered will depend upon the procedure being performed. Houston Methodist Hospital offers the full scope of anesthesia services. You will have the opportunity to discuss your preference for the type of anesthesia to be used for your procedure with your surgeon and your anesthesiologist.

General anesthesia involves what many people refer to as being "put under;" the patient is unconscious for the duration of the procedure. General anesthesia is used for many types of major and minor surgery.

Regional anesthesia blocks the conduction of pain - nerve impulses from the area being operated upon, such as a limb. Regional anesthesia is used either as the sole anesthetic (for instance, a spinal or epidural block) or in combination with a general anesthetic, in which case the regional anesthetic is used for pain control after surgery.

Sedation (sometimes referred to as MAC or Monitored Anesthesia Care) is a form of anesthesia used to calm a patient during a procedure. It may be used for diagnostic procedures like colonoscopy or MRI, or for smaller operative procedures where the surgeon administers local anesthesia to numb the operative site.

Local infiltration anesthesia is similar to regional anesthesia, but confined to a smaller area of the body. The surgeon administers local anesthetic. Anesthesiologists are not involved in the procedure.

Specialty services offered at Houston Methodist include:

  • 24 hour, in-house obstetric anesthesia
  • Cardiac anesthesia
  • Pediatric anesthesia for certain specialty pediatric procedures done at Houston Methodist
  • Postoperative pain management

To learn more about anesthesia, please visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists Web site.