This type of anaesthetic is used during invasive operations. It causes a loss of sensation and will send you to sleep so that you don’t move or feel any pain during the procedure.
The anaesthetic is given via a drip into a vein, usually on the back of your hand, and takes about 30 seconds to work. Your Anaesthetist will be monitoring you during your operation to make sure that you’re comfortable and remain asleep. You may also be given a general anaesthetic using gas, which you breathe in through a mask.
Once your operation is over, you’ll be transferred to the recovery room where your Anaesthetist will slowly wake you up. Once you’re aware of your surroundings again, you’ll be transferred to your room.
Your Anaesthetist may need to carry out some tests to assess your suitability for general anaesthetic. This could include blood tests or an ECG.
Epidural – or spinal – anaesthetic (also known as regional anaesthetic)
Regional anaesthetics are offered as an alternative to a general anaesthetic for a wide variety of operations, including hip replacement surgery and knee replacement surgery. The anaesthetic is injected into a space in your lower back, numbing the nerves that supply the lower half of your body. You may be given a sedative as well, to make you drowsy and relaxed.
We’re among the first private hospitals in the UK to offer tailored individual anaesthetic and pain control for hip replacement surgery, thanks to local anaesthetic techniques such as a PENG Block. This means you’re less likely to need strong pain relief after your operation and you may be able to go home sooner – often the day after surgery.
Different types of drugs, as well as the quantity your Anaesthetist uses, will change the extent of the numbness you feel. Once the medication has worn off, feeling should return to the anaesthetised area.
Local anaesthetics are used for relatively minor procedures and will numb a certain area to pain. They may be used alongside a sedative to relax you during your procedure but, unlike a general anaesthetic, you won’t go to sleep - so you’ll recover more quickly.
The anaesthetic can be given as an injection, or as a gel, spray or cream.