Understanding Local and General Anesthesia

Since 2007 Dr. Brian Klagges has worked as a physician and anesthesiologist at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH. In 2006 Dr. Brian Klagges was recognized with the Robelen Award, given to the top graduate resident in Anesthesiology at Tufts University’s Caritas-St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

General anesthesia can be described as medically-facilitated states of unconsciousness that can be reversed by doctors. Local anesthesia is typically administered via injection in an effort to block sensory nerves in a specific part of the body. For example, during a routine dental procedure, dentists generally do not induce a state of complete unconsciousness but rather locally anesthetize the target oral structures in order to prevent the perception of pain during a procedure.

General anesthesia is a medically induced coma and loss of protective reflexes resulting from the administration of one or more general anesthetic agents. A variety of medications may be administered, with the overall aim of ensuring sleep, amnesia, analgesia, relaxation of skeletal muscles, and loss of control of reflexes of the autonomic nervous system. The optimal combination of these agents for any given patient and procedure is typically selected by an anesthesiologist or another provider such as an anesthesiologist assistant or nurse anesthetists, in consultation with the patient and the medical or dental practitioner performing the operative procedure.

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