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Anesthesia | What Are the Different Types?

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Different Types of AnesthesiaWhat types of anesthesia can have I with my hysterectomy?

There are three main types of anesthesia: local, regional, and general anesthesia. The type of hysterectomy you are having, the skill and preference of your surgeon, and your overall health will affect which options are available to you.


Local anesthesia is used to stop pain sensations in a specific part of the body, and it does not penetrate very deeply, nor does it cover a wide area. It is not typically used for a hysterectomy. Instead, you might have this type of anesthesia with a minor surgery or dental procedure. Local anesthesia does not put you into a state of unconsciousness.


Regional anesthesia is used to stop pain sensations for a portion of the body. Typically, a local anesthetic is injected near nerve clusters that provide feeling for the area where surgery will be performed. Spinal and epidural anesthetic are the two main choices for gynecologic surgeries.

For spinal anesthetic, an injection will be made in your lower back, below the spinal cord. The anesthetic is then inserted directly into the cerebrosipinal fluid that surrounds the spine. Only small doses of anesthetic are needed with this type of anesthesia since they spread easily through the spinal fluid. If the anesthesiologist sees that continued spinal anesthesia may be needed, a catheter can be inserted and left in place so additional injections can be given, but generally there is only a single injection and no catheter for spinal anesthesia.

For epidural anesthetic, a catheter is placed in your lower back just outside the membrane that contains the spinal fluid. Anesthetic is then inserted through the catheter. Larger doses of anesthetic are needed since they will need to spread through tissues as they are not inserted directly in the cerebrospinal fluid. The catheter is left in place so additional anesthetic can be administered as needed, or continual anesthetic can be used. In addition, other medications may be given using this catheter.

Regional anesthesia does not render you unconscious, but you and your medical team can choose to add a type of sedative to allow you to relax or even sleep through your hysterectomy. Regional anesthesia inserted in the lower back should leave you numb from the waist down during your hysterectomy.


General anesthesia will put you in an unconscious state for your hysterectomy. The anesthetic can be administered through an IV or inhaled through a breathing mask. Since you will be unconscious, you will need breathing assistance, which may be administered by a breathing tube. There are several reasons for general anesthesia, but your surgeon may especially recommend it if your hysterectomy is expected to be lengthy, if significant blood loss is expected, or if CO2 gas will be used.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

05-06-2014 - 02:20 PM


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