This type of anesthesia uses medicine to numb a small part of your body so you don’t feel pain. It can be given as a cream, gel, or spray on the skin. It can also be given by an injection (shot) into the skin. You might be awake when you get local anesthesia.
This type of anesthesia blocks pain in one area of your body, such as an arm, leg, or the
lower half of your body. If you get regional anesthesia, you might be awake. Or you might get medicines to make you relax and feel sleepy, called “sedatives.” Sedatives are given through a thin tube that goes into a vein, called an “IV.
One type of regional anesthesia is called a “spinal block.” The anesthesiologist puts a small needle in your lower back, and injects medicine to numb the nerves in your spine. It can be used for surgery done on your legs or inside your belly. Another type is an “epidural.” The anesthesiologist uses a needle to put a small tube (called a “catheter”) into your lower back, near the nerves in your spine. Some women get an epidural during childbirth. Other people get one for a surgical procedure or to control pain after surgery.
This type of anesthesia makes you unconscious so you can’t feel, see, or hear anything during surgery. Some of the medicines are given through an IV. Others are gases that you breathe. You might also get a breathing tube to help you breathe. If this happens, the anesthesiologist will carefully place the tube in your throat while you are asleep during general anesthesia, and remove it before you wake up.