There are two main categories of anesthesia: general and regional. General anesthesia means being completely unconscious and unaware. Often this requires support of breathing, like a tube in your windpipe, but not always. General anesthesia requires medications to be in your bloodstream. These medications are usually given in an IV or through breathing anesthesia gases.
Regional anesthesia, on the other hand, works by numbing the surgical area using injections of local anesthesia around specific nerves. This allows surgery to be done without medications in your bloodstream. Many patients also receive IV sedation to sleep gently through the procedure.
Deciding which anesthesia plan is right for you involves many factors including your physical condition, the scheduled procedure, and the preferences of your physicians. You will have an opportunity to discuss the plan and have your questions answered prior to any interventions.