TYPES OF ANESTHESIA

 

There are three main categories of anesthesia, each having many forms and uses. They are:

  • General
  • Regional
  • Local

For general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthetic drugs – some are gases or vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications introduced through a vein. This is the most common type of anesthesia performed and over the past 50 years has become progressively safer for patients to receive with fewer major complications or associated risks, the most common being nausea and/or vomiting.

For regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist makes an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake, be given a sedative, or be placed under general anesthesia. Either way you do not see or feel the actual surgery taking place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia; the two most common are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia. Ultrasound regional anesthesia is also a very popular specialized modality we use mainly for orthopedic procedures, although other types of procedures involving limb, chest, or the abdomen may benefit.

For local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug (also called numbing medicine) is usually injected into the tissue to numb just the specific location of your body requiring minor surgery. This is usually done by your surgeon or anesthesiologist. You may or may not also receive sedation for your comfort during the procedure.

Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is a term that is frequently used to describe the anesthesia care a patient receives for same-day or outpatient surgery that involves relatively minor procedures. It has been described as a specific anesthesia service for diagnostic or therapeutic procedures performed under local anesthesia along with sedation and analgesia, titrated to a level that preserves spontaneous breathing and airway reflexes. MAC alone or with local anesthesia accounts for a relatively high percentage of anesthesia services nationwide. MAC essentially comprises of three basic components: A safe conscious sedation, measures to allay patient’s anxiety, and effective pain control. This service (MAC) results in less physiologic disturbance and a more rapid recovery than general anesthesia. Presently, MAC is the first choice in 10-30% of all surgical procedures.

NERVE BLOCKS

 

A nerve block is a very common and safe procedure. It is performed by your anesthesiologist as an adjunct to help control pain after surgery. It is accomplished by injecting local anesthetic (nerve numbing medication) around the nerves of interest. It is performed under light sedation to ensure your comfort and safety — most patients do not recall the procedure or feel discomfort.

The effected area will be numb, weak, and immobile. Surgical pain is completely taken away or greatly reduced. The duration may range from 8 to 30 hours depending on the type of block and medication used.

It is safe and recommended to take your prescription pain pills while you have a nerve block even if you have no pain. This will help with pain control once your nerve block subsides.

Regional anesthesia is typically used in conjunction with general anesthesia (“going to sleep”) for your surgery, although in some cases light sedation may be adequate. Prior to surgery, discuss these options with your anesthesiologist.

Advantages to nerve blocks include:

  • Complete or significant pain relief
  • Reduction in IV and oral narcotics
  • Less nausea and vomiting
  • Less sedation and confusion
  • Quicker time to recovery and going home

OUR PHYSICIANS

 

All of our physicians are Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

We have attended top rated anesthesia residency programs for training and continue to advance our knowledge and skill thru Continuing Medical Education (CME) and recertification (MOCA).

Here is the path we took to become anesthesiologists:

  • Graduate College (4 years)
  • Graduate Medical School (4 years)
  • Successful completion of Residency in Anesthesiology (4 years)
  • Optional fellowship (1-2 years)
  • Passing the written board exam
  • Passing the oral board exam
  • Completing annual CME requirements 

All of this education and training is for one purpose: to conduct the safest and best anesthesia for our patients so they may have a smooth surgical experience.

ANESTHESIA BILLING

 

The anesthesia service you receive is distinct and separate from the surgical procedure performed by the surgeon. As such, the fees associated with your anesthesia service is also separate.

We understand that medical care can be costly. As a courtesy, we submit a claim on your behalf for our anesthesia service directly to your insurance carrier. Depending on your specific benefits, your insurance carrier may cover the whole bill or the majority of it. Your insurance carrier will often pay us directly and provide you with a letter call Explanation of Benefits (EOB), outlining the payments they’ve covered and if any co-payment or co-insurance amount is owned by you.

The EOB is not a bill from us. You should receive a separate statement from us indicating any balance left to settle your account. We try to make your out-of-pocket expenses for anesthesia less than the cost of an iPhone!

If you have questions regarding your anesthesia statement or bill, please email our billing department at biller@pontineinc.com.

Approximately 1 of every 3 of our patients receive
ultrasound guided nerve blocks

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