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Anesthesia Services

Our Anesthesia department is staffed by eight Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). CRNAs are advanced practice nurses with specialized graduate-level education in anesthesiology. The nurse anesthetist stays with you for the entire procedure and constantly monitors every important function of your body to individually modifying your anesthetic and ensure your optimal safety and comfort.

Anesthesia Types

The anesthesia chosen for you is based on factors such as physical condition, the nature of the surgery and your reactions to medications.

The basic types of anesthesia include:

  • General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
  • Regional anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body.
  • Local anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a small, specific area of the body.

Anesthesia Options for Childbirth

The ideal anesthetic during labor and delivery should provide enough pain relief to allow you to deliver your baby with minimal pain and anxiety, leaving you free to fully participate in the experience and to push when it is time to do so.

Commonly used regional obstetrical anesthetics include:

  • Epidural: With an epidural, anesthesia is delivered through a tiny tube called a catheter placed in the small of the back, just outside the spinal canal. An advantage of the epidural is that it allows most women to fully participate in the birth experience while relieving most, if not all, of the pains of labor.
  • Spinal (intrathecal): This method is similar to an epidural, but because the drugs are administered with a needle into the spinal canal, the effects are felt much faster.
  • Combined spinal-epidural (CSE): The combined spinal-epidural method uses the advantages of both the spinal intrathecal and the epidural approach. The fast onset of pain relief from the spinal approach, together with the benefit of the continuous infusion of the epidural, provides a quick and lasting method of easing the pain associated with labor and delivery. With this method, less pain medication will be used while providing a superior form of pain management.
  • Patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA): In conjunction with the CSE or epidural methods, patient controlled epidural analgesia allows the patient to have greater control over their own pain management. After the epidural catheter is placed, the patient is given a hand-held control button which, when pressed, will administer pain medication as prescribed and set by the anesthetist. With this method, the patient may control how much or little pain medication they receive during their labor.
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