Alternatives to General Anesthesia

Certainly, general anesthesia is frequently the only option for a multitude of different surgeries. It will typically involve airway management with the placement of a breathing tube and inhalation of anesthesia gas. Though it can be performed safely, it can still be quite complex and can come with a considerable amount of risk to the patient.

However, there are also many surgeries that can be done under alternative anesthetic techniques. We often refer to this as Local/MAC, meaning a combination of local anesthetic (numbing medicine) and Monitored Anesthesia Care (IV sedation). The numbing can be done by the surgeon at the surgical site or possibly by the anesthesiologist in the form of a nerve
block, and the sedation is administered entirely through the IV by the anesthesiologist. This combination allows for the patient to have pain free experience while under sedation. For all
intents and purposes, the patient is still sleeping, but not unconscious and unresponsive as one would be under general anesthesia.

There are many benefits to consider for a Local/MAC versus General Anesthesia. The anesthesiologist will often introduce this option because it can be safer for the patient, but we
also see a much smoother wake up process, quicker recovery time in the post anesthesia care unit, reduced drowsiness/hangover, and reduced incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting.

It is always helpful to know your anesthesia options. We encourage you to have this discussion with your surgeon during your office visit and with your anesthesiologist to come up with the best plan for you.


Dr. Shiraz was voted by his peers in Fort Worth as well as in Dallas as a top medical professional in his field.

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