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About Anaesthesia
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There are a range of different anaesthetic techniques which may be used depending on the type of surgery you are having.
Often a combination of these techniques are utilised.  

General Anaesthetic - This refers to being "put to sleep" and is what most people relate to when they think of having an anaesthetic. During a general anaesthetic you are put in to a "carefully controlled state of unconsiousness" with an intravenous injection of medication. A breathing tube is placed in to your airway, and depending on the type of surgery a ventilation machine maybe used to control your breathing. During your surgery you are kept asleep by breathing an anaesthetic gas. It is a very reliable technique. Whilst under a general anaesthetic you are completely unconscious - during your operation you will not see, hear or feel anything.  

Intravenous Sedation - This anaesthetic technique involves the injection of intravenous medication which makes you very sleepy or drowsy. It is sometimes called a "twilight anaesthetic", the aim of which is to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your procedure, even though you may be aware of background noise or the fact you are having a procedure. This technique is typically used for endoscopy procedures such as gastroscopies and colonoscopies, as well as minor urological procedures (cystoscopies, TRUS biopsies). Sedation is also often administered during procedures where local or regional anaesthetics have been used.  

Local Anaesthetic Techniques - This refers to the placement of "local anaesthetic" injections directly into the surgical site to make that particular area numb. This technique is commonly used for excision of skin lesions and small hand/finger surgeries.  

Regional Anaesthetic Techniques (also called nerve blocks) - This refers to techniques where local anaesthetic injections are made around specific nerves or groups of nerves. These injections are made to "numb" larger areas of the body.
Examples of regional anaesthetic techniques include:  
- interscalene and axillary nerve blocks used for shoulder and arm operations,  
- femoral and sciatic nerve blocks used for surgery on the leg, foot and ankle,    
- injections in to the back such as spinal and epidural injections which are used for a range of obstetric and urology operations as well as orthopaedic operations on the lower limb.

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