Types of Anesthesia

UW Health endocrine surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin, most often use a general anesthesia during parathyroid surgery, though anesthesia provide via IV is an option for some patients.

Determining the Best Type of Anesthesia
A general anesthesia is used most often, but a local anesthesia with sedation through an IV is an option for some people. Your surgeon's and your anesthesiologist's experience and comfort, medical conditions that you may have (such as acid reflux, sleep, apnea, and claustrophobia), and your wishes determine which type of anesthesia will be used. 

Types of Anesthesia
  • Local or Regional Block Anesthesia: This is a form of local anesthesia ("numbing" medicine) usually done with a combination of Lidocaine (short acting) and Marcaine (long acting) local anesthetics. The medicines are injected into the side of the neck along the muscle that extends from your jaw to your breastbone and numb the tissues in this region. You will feel touching and pressure, but you should not feel sharp pain.

    Usually this type of anesthesia works very well, but sometimes additional medication needs to be injected in the area of the incision. A sheet or blanket will need to be covering your upper neck and face which can make some people uncomfortable, therefore many times this form of anesthesia is accompanied by some intravenous sedation. 

  • Intravenous (IV) Sedation or "Conscious" Sedation: Sedation can be used to supplement local or regional block anesthesia and is usually performed by giving medications through an IV catheter. It can be very light (just enough to help you relax) or heavy (where you are in a fairly deep sleep). You will not have a breathing tube in with this form of anesthesia so it is important for you to remain awake enough that you continue to breathe comfortably on your own. You may be awake enough to talk and move during surgery, but it is not uncommon for you to not remember the events that occurred while under sedation.

    Some patients have medical conditions that make this form of anesthesia not a good option. This form of anesthesia can be associated with some mild nausea, which is usually easily treated. There is also the risk that you could be made too sleepy and stop breathing on your own, therefore it is essential that you have an anesthesiologist that is experienced in giving sedation. 

  • General Anesthesia: General anesthesia is the administration of either IV or inhaled medications which put you into a deep sleep. Since medications are often given to stop your muscles from working temporarily, an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) or an LMA (laryngeal masked airway) is used. An LMA involves placing a special tube with a cuff in the back of your throat which allows the anesthesiologist to help you breathe if it is needed. Most patients tolerate general anesthesia very well and it is considered very safe. The most common side effect is a mild sore throat and some nausea. There are many medications that can be given to help prevent or reduce the nausea.