Regional anesthesia is a technique that anesthetizes a specific area of the body. This is in contrast to general anesthesia, where a patient is medically brought to a state of unconsciousness to anesthetize the whole body.
In the technique, known as a nerve block, local anesthetics are applied to a targeted set of nerves to block sensation and movement. Patients feel no pain or discomfort in the targeted area, and they may choose to remain fully conscious or to receive mild sedatives to lessen anxiety and feel more comfortable.
At HSS, most orthopedic procedures except for spine surgery are performed under regional anesthesia. This has many benefits:
In the below video, Assistant Attending Anesthesiologist Carrie R. Guheen, MD, explains regional anesthesia. This is part of the video series, Anesthesia Frequently Asked Questions.
Learn more about the different types of nerve blocks used in regional anesthesia.