While there are many types and levels of anesthesia — medication to keep you from feeling pain during surgery — general anesthesia is most commonly used for major operations, such as knee and hip replacements, heart surgeries and many types of surgical procedures to treat cancer. Many of these surgeries are lifesaving or life-changing and would not be possible without general anesthesia.How does general anesthesia work?
General anesthesia is medicine that is administered by a physician anesthesiologist through a mask or an IV placed in the vein. While the anesthesia is working, you will be unconscious and many of your body’s functions will slow down or need help to work effectively.
A tube may be placed in your throat to help you breathe. During surgery or the procedure, the physician anesthesiologist will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs to make sure they are normal and steady while you remain unconscious and free of pain.