Patient Information

Your Anesthesia Options - Local, Regional, or General

There are three main types of anesthesia. Each has its own benefits and risks. With your input, your NCAP anesthesiologist will develop and recommend the best plan for your care, incorporating all of your medical information, surgical and post-operative needs, including pain and nausea control. This ensures that all your needs will be attended to during your procedure.

Local anesthesia

Some procedures require only a local anesthetic that temporarily stops nerves from transmitting pain sensations. This can be done with or without gentle sedation. In these procedures, it may not be necessary for an anesthesiologist to be in attendance.

If heavy sedation is indicated or desired, medication will be administered by an anesthesiologist while your vital signs are constantly monitored. This combination approach is known as MAC anesthesia, or monitored anesthesia care.

Regional anesthesia

Nerve blocks and spinals/epidurals are types of regional anesthesia. If your procedure calls for a nerve block, a local anesthetic is injected into a field or nerve plexus in order to prevent those nerves transmitting pain signals.

For instance, if you are having shoulder surgery, a brachial plexus nerve block may be placed in the neck or above the clavicle.

Nerve blocks can be used as the sole anesthetic for surgery.  When they are combined with deep sedation or general anesthesia, their primary role is to control post-operative pain.

NCAP anesthesiologists have been at the forefront of trends in nerve block practice. Our physicians have extensive experience in the use of ultrasound to place nerve blocks, placement of continuous nerve block catheters for prolonged post-op pain relief, and in pediatric nerve block placement.

Spinal and epidural anesthesia are techniques that involve the gentle injection of medication into the back  to block the transmission of nerve signals to and from the spinal cord. Both are quick and simple procedures that begin with numbing the skin.

Once the medication is given, the affected area and surrounding areas are numbed. Spinal and epidural anesthesia are often accompanied with sedation, allowing you to nap during the surgery. They may also be combined with general anesthesia or used to provide post- operative pain relief.

NCAP has created and staffs a pain management service for patients with post-operative epidurals to ensure that all their pain control needs are met.

General anesthesia

When you have a general anesthetic, everything "goes to sleep," including your consciousness. This is the only technique in which you are totally unaware and will have no memory of the procedure.

 A breathing tube typically is placed after you are asleep and removed before you awaken. You may feel a mild discomfort, but it won’t last long. During a general anesthetic, your anesthesiologist will administer several medications, maximizing the benefits and minimizing the negatives of each one.

Always at your side

No matter what type of anesthetic your procedure calls for, NCAP anesthesiologists will be with you every step of the way until you are safely through your surgery.

As true peri-operative physicians, we manage not only the challenges created by your surgery and anesthetic needs, but also any medical issues that you may have, such as diabetes, neurological, pulmonary and cardiac problems.

Learn more: About NCAP