If you’re preparing to have surgery, packing a bag might not need to be included in your plans. Today nearly two-thirds of all surgical procedures are per formed on patients who go home the same day. As with surgery requiring a hospital stay, your outpatient procedure — also called same-day, ambulatory or office-based surgery — will most likely be per formed with some type of anesthesia. Knowing your options and what to expect will help you prepare for a successful procedure and a smooth recovery at home.

What Types of Anesthesia Are Available?

The four main types of anesthesia used during surgery are:

Local anesthesia

This is usually a one-time injection of medicine used to numb a small area for a procedure such as having a mole or skin cancer removed.

Regional anesthesia

Pain medication to numb a larger part of the body, such as the area below the waist, may be provided through an injection or a small tube called a catheter. You will be awake, but unable to feel the area that is numbed. This type of anesthesia is often used for childbirth and for surgeries of the arm, leg or abdomen.

Monitored anesthesia care or intravenous (IV) sedation

Your anesthesist will administer medication that will relax you through an IV placed in a vein. Depending on the procedure, the level of sedation may range from minimal — making you drowsy but able to talk — to deep, meaning you probably won’t remember the procedure. This type of anesthesia often is used for minimally invasive procedures such as colonoscopies. IV sedation is sometimes combined with local or regional anesthesia.

General anesthesia

This type of anesthesia is provided through an anesthesia mask or IV and makes you lose consciousness. It is more likely to be used if you are having a major surgery, such as a knee replacement or open heart surgery.

The type of anesthesia you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of procedure you are having, your health and in some cases, your preference.

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists