Types of Anesthesia Used During Surgery

Anesthetist administering gas to patient
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Anesthesia is the administration of medication to allow medical procedures to be done without pain, and in some cases, without the patient being aware during the procedure. There are a variety of types of anesthesia, as well as several different medical professions that are able to give anesthesia.

Anesthesia is used in a wide range of procedures, from highly invasive surgeries, such as open-heart surgery, to minor procedures such as having a tooth extracted.

Types of Anesthesia

There are four types of anesthesia:

The type of anesthesia used during your surgery typically depends on the type of surgery, your state of health, the length of the surgery, and the preferences of your anesthesia provider and surgeon.

Anesthesia Providers

There are several types of medical professionals who are able to provide anesthesia, including doctors (anesthesiologist), nurse anesthetists, dentists/oral surgeons, and anesthesiologist’s assistants. The level of training varies between different types of providers, with anesthesiologists having the highest level of training.

Questions to Ask

Before you decide on whether or not to have anesthesia, or what type of anesthesia you prefer to get, find out the answers to key questions so you can have the safest possible procedure.

Things to Tell Your Anesthesia Provider

Make sure your anesthesia provider is well-informed about your health, medications, and other issues. There are certain risks that can be avoided with an open conversation with prior to a procedure, be candid about your medical history and any previous surgeries you may have had.


Just as no surgery is risk-free, no anesthesia is 100 percent safe either. Learn about the risks of anesthesia and the conditions that increase your risk so you can make an educated decision about your care.

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