A Primer on the Three Main Types of Anesthesia, by John Gerancher

John Charles Gerancher honed an expertise in anesthesiology during more than a decade as a doctor and a professor. This article briefly expounds upon three types of anesthesia and their uses.

1. Local. When a patient undergoes local anesthesia, he or she is given a shot of the anesthetic drug into the affected area. Surgery can then be completed with a significantly decreased amount of pain.

2. Regional. Through using spinal or epidural anesthesia, the two types of regional anesthesia, doctors inject the patient with anesthetic medicine near a cluster of nerves. This numbs the area, and the patient will not feel the surgery. He or she may remain awake during surgery or may have received a sedative or even general anesthesia in addition to regional.

3. General. Doctors use general anesthesia when the patient should be unconscious throughout the surgical procedure. General anesthesia can be given to a patient through an intravenous method, by breathing mask or tube, or through both routes of administration.