top of page


The type of anesthesia you receive to prevent pain during surgery depends on the procedure you're having. 

The type of procedure also can affect your considerations for recovery, including your options for managing

post-surgical pain.


Used for major operations such as abdominal, open heart, laparoscopic, or robotic surgery. Keeps you unconscious and free of pain.


Often used during childbirth and arm, leg, or abdomen surgery. It numbs a large part of the body while your consciousness can be titrated from fully awake or fully asleep depending on your preference.


Often used for minimally invasive procedures. 


Sedation levels range from minimal (drowsy/unable to talk) to deep.


Used for procedures such as getting stitches or removing

a mole. It numbs a small area while you are awake and alert.


1. When do I speak with my anesthesiologist?

The night before surgery, a phone call is typically made by the anesthesiologist who is assigned to your case. Many questions can be routinely answered at this time. This quick call often reduces the overall anxiety often associated with surgery and anesthesia. If the anesthesiologist is unable to reach you, there is plenty of time for a discussion during surgery day before entering the operating room.

2. Can I eat and drink the day of surgery?

In general, patients are instructed to not have anything to eat or drink starting midnight of the day prior to surgery. Your anesthesiologist will give you more detailed instructions for your specific case.

3. What medications do I take the night before surgery?

During the phone call, your anesthesiologist will provide instructions on which medications to take. A nurse or someone from the surgeon's office may also contact you to go over your medication list. You may take any medications instructed for the day of surgery with a small sip of water.

4. What if I have a problem at home after surgery?

If you have a medical emergency, you should contact your surgeon or dial 911. If you have questions regarding your anesthesia or have side effects related to your anesthesia, you may contact the G2 Anesthesia office at

(408) 399-5546. Our office will be able to get you in touch with the appropriate person.

5. When can I drive?

At discharge, you will receive instructions regarding resuming normal activities. Every patient differs with respect to the operation performed, anesthesia received, and pain medications given. Each patient receives individualized instructions specific to their case.

General FAQ


What is regional anesthesia?

Regional anesthesia is performed by using local anesthetics to block the nerve conduction or communication to part of the body so the patient cannot feel pain in that area. This is identical to when a patient is treated with a "shot" at the dentist's office to make the jaw sufficiently numb for dental procedures. We perform regional anesthesia similarly for some surgical procedures as well as to control post-operative surgical or labor pain.


There are 3 types of regional anesthesia:


1. Epidural Anesthesia

  • What: Involves the placement of anesthetics within the epidural space of the spinal column. Depending on the location or "level" of the epidural injection, the anesthesia will block the conduction of nerves within this region of your body. Typically we place a catheter or "tube" in this location so we can continuously provide anesthetic using a medication pump.

  • When: We commonly use epidural anesthesia for certain surgical procedures, post-operative pain management, and labor pain control.

  • How: The technique is performed with the patient sitting or lying down in fetal position. An epidural introducer needle is used to find and place a catheter into the epidural space. It usually takes 15 minutes or more for the anesthetic to take full affect. Epidural anesthesia can be continued up to 5 days with the catheter in place.

  • Risks and Side Effects: Common side effects include anesthetic failure of the epidural catheter (less than 1/100 cases) and a temporary headache known as a "spinal headache" (less than 1/200 cases). Temporary blood pressure drops are often common initially. Extremely rare complications include serious infection, paralysis, seizures, and heart collapse. Most studies do not support increased risk of back injury and pain from epidural anesthesia.

2. Spinal Anesthesia

  • What: Involves the placement of an anesthetic into the spinal sac located within the spinal column. A "spinal" is usually performed at the lower back level (lumbar vertebrae). Once the anesthetic is injected into the spinal sac, it affects the conduction of the spinal cord and nerves at that location. Typically patients cannot feel or move areas that are treated.

  • When: We commonly use spinal anesthesia for certain surgical procedures and sometimes to provide post-operative pain management. It is also used along with epidural anesthesia for obstetrical surgery, such as Caesarian sections. 

  • How: The procedure for placing a "spinal" is very similar to an epidural anesthetic. The "spinal" is placed using a very small needle. Once the needles reaches the spinal sac, anesthetic is administered and the needle is removed. The effect is much faster than epidural anesthesia and usually fully kicks in within 10 minutes. Spinal anesthesia can last up to 4 hours depending on the anesthetic used.

  • Risks and Side Effects: The risks and side effects are similar to epidural anesthesia. The most common side effect is a temporary headache (less than 1/100 cases) known as a "spinal" headache. Temporary blood pressure drops are often common initially. Extremely rare complications include serious infection, paralysis, seizures, and heart collapse. Most studies do not support increased risk of back injury and pain from epidural anesthesia.


3. Peripheral Nerve Anesthesia

  • What: Peripheral nerve anesthesia or "nerve blocks" are used to provide surgical and post-operative anesthesia. Specific areas of the body can be anesthetized by selectively injecting anesthetic to certain nerves. 

  • When: Peripheral "nerve blocks" are most often performed to provide prolonged post-operative pain relief to specific areas of the body affected by surgery. Sometimes we will use these blocks for primary intra-operative anesthesia as well. These blocks can provide up to 24 hours of post-operative anesthesia and pain relief from surgery.

  • How: Peripheral "nerve blocks" can be performed either before or after surgery depending on the clinical situation as determined by the patient, surgeon, and anesthesiologist. Typically a special nerve simulator is used to locate the specific nerve or nerve bundle. Once the nerve is located, anesthetic is injected causing a "block" in conduction from the targeted nerves. Depending on the anesthetic used, the full effect can take as long as 25 minutes to occur and can last as long as 24 hours.

  • Risks and Side Effects: Each particular "nerve block" has its own specific risks and side effects. The most common risk is the failure of anesthesia ("failed block"). Prolonged nerve anesthesia or paralysis lasting up to 3 months is rare but does occur. Extremely rare complications include serious infection, seizures, and heart collapse. 

Regional FAQ


1. What is MAC Anesthesia?

MAC stands for "Monitored Anesthesia Care" and is another term that refers to local anesthesia/sedation. In general, this refers to an anesthesiologist who gives medications that will sedate you while allowing you to breathe simultaneously. Oftentimes, local medication (or "numbing" medicine) is also given at the site of surgery.

2. What are the advantages of local anesthesia/sedation?

The main advantage of local anesthesia and sedation is that side effects are minimized. Recovery is often quicker and patient satisfaction is just as high within an appropriately chosen case.

3. Will I be awake?

Your level of awareness will depend on how much medication you are given and your individual response. However, if you are uncomfortable or would like to be more asleep/awake, you can inform your anesthesiologist at any time. They will be with you the entire time. 

4. What is topical anesthesia?

Topical anesthesia is a type of anesthesia commonly used in eye cases. It involves placing eye drops that numb your eye. Sometimes a regional anesthetic may also be done (eye block), which would block eye movement during surgery. There are medical reasons your ophthalmologist may prefer one technique over the other. 

5. What are the risks for topical and regional anesthesia?

The risks for topical anesthesia are very minimal, however there are reasons your ophthalmologist may wish to use the regional "eye block" technique, which has the rare risk of bleeding, infection, and mild discomfort during the injection. It is a safe and proven technique for eye surgery. 

6. What kind of sedation will I receive?

The choice of sedative medication will be up to your anesthesiologist. Like all local anesthesia/sedation cases, the majority of medications will be short-acting and have less side effects than a general anesthetic.

Local w/ Sedation FAQ
bottom of page