Types of anaesthesia

Posted on 27 February 2013

Pain-free major surgery and minor medical procedures are made possible by anaesthetic drugs administered by an anaesthesiologist. Here’s a break down of the different types of anaesthesia available.

General anaesthesia?
The patient enters a controlled state of unconsciousness after receiving a combination of drugs to inhibit sensory, motor and sympathetic nerve transmission at the level of the brain.

Regional anaesthetic
Patients remain awake but a large area of the body, such as the entire lower half, is without sensation because the transmission of impulses from the nerves in that area, the spinal cord and the brain have been blocked by an epidural or spinal block.

Local anaesthesia
This numbs a specific small location on the body while the patient remains conscious. Drugs are administered topically in the form of gels, creams or sprays, or via injection.

Conscious sedation
The same drugs used for general anaesthesia are administered but in much smaller quantities. The patient is sleepy but responsive to questions and instructions.

Click here to read more about some of the frequently asked questions about anaesthesia.

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The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.

Published in Surgery

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