Monitored Anesthesia Care
Monitored Anesthesia Care means that an anesthesia provider will be with you throughout your procedures to provide you with sedative and pain medication. The amount of medication will be carefully measured, and depending on your needs, will result in anywhere from moderate to deep sedation. The end result is that your procedure can be performed without any anxiety or discomfort. During moderate sedation, you will usually be able to speak and respond to verbal cues throughout the procedure, communicating any discomfort you might experience to your anesthesia provider. During deep sedation, you will be completely unaware of your surroundings. Regardless of the depth of sedation required, your anesthesiologist will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and level of alertness closely throughout and after the procedure.
Monitored Anesthesia Care may be administered to both adults and children for a variety of procedures, including the following:
- Diagnostic radiology procedures, such as MRI, performed by radiology technicians
- Interventional radiology procedures, such as embolization of blood vessels, performed by radiologists
- Electrophysiologic procedures, performed by cardiologists
- Colonoscopies and upper endoscopies, performed by gastroenterologists
- Breast biopsies, performed by surgeons
- Hysteroscopies, performed by gynecologists
- Eye surgery, performed by ophthalmologists
Regional anesthesia (popularly known as local anesthesia) involves injection of anesthetic medications near a cluster of nerves such that only the area of your body requiring surgery is numb. For example, spinals and epidurals are methods of regional anesthesia which effectively block sensation in the lower half of your body. Peripheral nerve blocks are often used to numb individual limbs, such as one arm or leg. This type of anesthesia is used for many different types of procedures, including orthopedic, urological, abdominal, gynecologic, and obstetric.
When receiving regional anesthesia, you may remain awake or you may be given intravenous (IV) sedation so that you will be relaxed and sleepy during the surgery. Regional anesthesia tends to result in less nausea and vomiting than general anesthesia. Even if you have general anesthesia for your procedure, a regional technique such as an epidural or a nerve block can be very effective after surgery to prevent or treat pain.
Most major operations are performed under general anesthesia. This means that you will be unconscious and have no awareness of the surgical procedure. General anesthesia typically interferes with normal breathing, so your anesthesia provider will manage your breathing for you. Your anesthesia provider will carefully measure a combination of intravenous and inhaled drugs to allow you to facilitate your surgeon's ability to perform the procedure and to take you through the procedure safely and comfortably.