What is general anesthesia?
General anesthesia is the complete loss of consciousness during your surgery. Typically this is accomplished with a combination of intravenous (IV) and inhalational (gasses) medication.
What is regional anesthesia?
Regional anesthesia is a term given to anesthesia accomplished by “blocking” nerve impulses with a drug (local anesthetic) before they are sensed or felt by the patient. These nerves can be blocked at multiple locations. A peripheral nerve block is where a nerve is blocked somewhere along its path from the site of surgery prior to entering the spinal cord. An example of this is an “Axillary block” or arm block. An epidural block is where nerves are blocked just before they enter the spinal cord. Local anesthetic is placed in the epidural space (which the nerves must pass through). A spinal block blocks nerves in the spinal canal. All nerves must travel to the spinal canal before traveling to the brain. On occasion, regional anesthesia can be combined with general anesthesia.