What You Should Know About Anesthesia

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There are several different types of anesthesia that can be used, which is why it’s important to know what procedure each is best for, and who can administer it. Depending on the procedure you’ve selected, your anesthesia options vary.

Local anesthesia (aka topical or injectable anesthesia)
Used in: Dental procedures, skin treatments (like fillers) and nonablative lasers 
How it works: Cream is applied or anesthesia is injected into the area that will be treated, which will numb only that area. Numbness occurs in minutes with injections; topicals can take about 20 minutes.
Potential side effects: Some irritation or dryness with creams; swelling with injections 

Local anesthesia with IV or oral sedation (aka twilight or conscious sedation)
Used in: Liposuction, eyelid surgery and rhinoplasty
How it works: Local anesthesia is administered with either an injection or topically; a nerve block is injected; or sedative medication (like Valium) is given through an IV or orally.
Potential side effects: When you wake, you may feel groggy, dopey or nauseous

Regional anesthesia
Used in: Large areas like the arms and legs, and child birth
How it works: Anesthesia is injected into a large part of the body, like the spine, to block a group of nerves so that pain cannot reach the brain
Potential side effects: You may not be able to move normally until the anesthesia has completely worn off. 

General anesthesia
Used in: Surgery, both for the face and body
How it works: This type of anesthesia is usually administered via inhalation (sometimes a breathing tube is used to control breathing) so that a temporary loss of consciousness inhibits pain. 
Potential side effects: You’ll wake feeling like you were in a deep sleep. Your throat may be irritated and you may feel shaky, jittery or nauseous. Your skin may feel dry and itchy.

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