Anaesthesia is the process by which drugs are given to reduce and prevent the sensation of pain caused by tissue damage (for example during surgery).

There are three broad categories of anaesthesia used in maxillofacial surgery:

  • local anaesthesia
  • local anaesthesia with sedation
  • general anaesthesia

In some instances, the surgeon will give only local anaesthetic so the patient remains awake but all pain is prevented during the surgery.

In other instances, the patient will be asleep and unaware (general anaesthesia) but the operated area will be numb when they wake up because the surgeon has added to the anaesthetic by injecting local anaesthetic to the site of the operation.

Sedation relaxes the patient and they may forget the event but does not make them go to sleep.

Next section: Anaesthesia