What are the 4 major types of anesthesia?

When told that they need to have surgery, people often ask if they’re going to be under anesthesia. It gives them some sense of how serious the surgery is or what to expect. 

The problem is that people often think of all anesthesia as the same thing — as if it just means you’ll be unconscious during a procedure and wake up later. The truth is that there are many different options and you must consider the four main categories to really know what it means when the doctors decide to take this route. These include:

  1. Local anesthesia: This is a simple option used for minor procedures. It typically just means that a small, localized area gets numbed before the surgery. For instance, it may be used to remove small incidents of skin cancer. 
  2. General anesthesia: As noted above, most people assume that anesthesia means being unconscious, with no awareness of what’s happening. That is true with general anesthesia. This is used for major surgeries where the patient may be under for hours. 
  3. Sedation: Sedation is a tactic that allows doctors to adjust the dosage as needed. At the high end, you can be completely sedated, as if under general anesthesia. On the other end, you may feel drowsy but still be able to talk to the medical team. 
  4. Region anesthesia: This is similar to local anesthesia, but it impacts a larger area of your body. A great example is an epidural, which is given to a woman during childbirth. She’s still alert but numbed in a significant area so she won’t feel the pain of labor and delivery. 

Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes at all levels of anesthesia, and patients can end up injured. If this happens to you, be sure you know how to seek compensation. You have every right to ask for compensation when you’ve been hurt by a doctor’s errors.