Anesthesia is the branch of medicine that deals with sedation and the loss of sensation to pain before, during and following a medical or surgical procedure.

There are several types of anesthesia, such as:

General anesthesia

While under general anesthesia, a patient is unconscious and unable to feel pain during an operation. General anesthesia typically uses a combination of intravenous (IV) drugs and inhaled gasses.

Local anesthesia

Local anesthesia temporarily blocks pain in a specific area of the body during minor surgery. Unlike with general anesthesia, patients who use local anesthesia remain conscious during a procedure. Local anesthesia can be delivered via injection or applied directly to skin or mucous membranes.

Regional anesthesia

With regional anesthesia, medication is injected near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area of your body that requires surgery. Patients either remain conscious or are given a sedative.


In the case of spinal anesthesia, medicine is injected into the spinal cord’s fluid causing lower body numbness. Spinal anesthesia takes effect right away. This method is commonly used for simple procedures.

Epidural anesthesia

Epidural anesthesia is a regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a particular location. Epidural anesthesia provides pain relief, not a total lack of feeling. As epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments, patients experience decreased sensation in the lower half of the body.

Monitored anesthesia care

Moderate and deep sedation include the administration of anesthetic drugs that relieve anxiety and pain. This may entail the loss of consciousness, depending on the amount and level of sedation required.