Today, many uncomfortable medical procedures can be accomplished by using anesthesia techniques that are between general anesthesia and a light sedative. Combined with local anesthesia in some cases, this can allow surgical procedures such as hernia repairs, knee arthroscopy and breast biopsies to be done with a minimum of side effects. Although people vary, the vast majority of patients go home within an hour of the end of the procedure.
In the conduct of conscious sedation, medications are given slowly. A person really never loses consciousness, but rather is in a state of deep relaxation. Many times they will not even recall having spoken to the staff during the procedure. This type of sedation may be appropriate for many endoscopic procedures including colonoscopy, gastroscopy and bronchoscopy. If this level of sedation proves insufficient, another option exists.
Deep sedation, administered by an Anesthesiologist (physician) can render persons unconscious for very painful parts of a procedure, while allowing a patient to be under lesser levels of sedation during less disturbing parts of surgery or testing. This type of sedation is appropriate for many patients with more peripheral surgeries such as foot surgery, many types of arm and elbow surgery, many hernia repairs, arthroscopic surgery of many joints, and many breast surgeries. Not all surgeries may be amenable to sedation of this type, including most laparoscopic surgery and many more extensive operations in the areas discussed above. This type of sedation may also be appropriate to enable persons with severe phobias regarding MRI Scanning or
The advantages of these types of sedation are shortened recovery time, less of a 'hung over' feel than with older medications and less nausea. Patients feel more normal when they leave the office and are able to go home relatively quickly. Unfortunately, although persons may even feel normal, it is recommended that they not drive or conduct business the day of the procedure because of residual effects of the medications.
for Further information regarding Anesthesia, please refer to the Patient's Guide to Anesthesia.