General Anesthesia | MedStar Health

What is general anesthesia?

Nurse taking care of patient in bed

If you’re having an invasive procedure in a hospital or doctor’s office, your MedStar Health anesthesia team will work closely with your surgeon to choose the best options for managing your pain and keep you safe before, during, and after surgery.

When you undergo a simple or complex surgery, you will need anesthesia and pain medication to help keep you safe and comfortable.

Our anesthesiologists, residents, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and certified anesthesiology assistants (CAAs) are specially trained in providing anesthesia before, during, and after simple and complex procedures for a variety of specialties, including:

  • Cardiac surgery: Surgery to treat major diseases in the heart.

  • General surgery: Surgery to treat major diseases in the abdomen, including esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix, and more.

  • Neurosurgery: Surgery to treat complex disorders of the brain and spine.

  • Orthopedic surgery: Surgery to repair musculoskeletal injuries including bone and joint disorders, fractures, and tears of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

  • Transplant surgery: Surgery to restore life to patients with end-stage failure of organs, including liver, kidney, colon, stomach, and pancreas.

Our general anesthesia providers

Our anesthesia providers are experts in using anesthesia to minimize your pain and improve your recovery. When possible, we use regional anesthesia to help you recover faster with fewer side effects following surgery. When you undergo surgery at a MedStar Health facility, you’ll benefit from our:

  • Highly trained anesthesia specialists

  • Experienced surgeons

  • State-of-the-art surgical equipment

  • Minimally invasive options

What to expect?

After arriving for your surgery, your anesthesiologist or CRNA will meet with you and your doctor in the preoperative area to discuss your anesthetic plan. We encourage you to ask questions so you feel calm and prepared going into your procedure.

Learn More About Preparing for Anesthesia

Depending on your procedure, your anesthesia team may use one or more of the following types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia: Results in a loss of consciousness and sensation.

  • Sedatives: An injection into a vein or muscle to dull pain.

  • Regional anesthesia: An injection of local anesthetic around nerves to provide numbness, loss of pain, or loss of sensation to a large area of the body. This type includes techniques such as spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, and arm and leg nerve blocks.

  • Local: An injection under the skin that results in numbness to a small area of the body.

During the procedure, your anesthesia team will use innovative monitoring techniques to ensure your safety and comfort. After your procedure, you will be transferred to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where specialized nurses will follow Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS)  protocols to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Learn More About Recovery and Going Home

Questions to ask your anesthesia team

Our anesthesia providers will help you understand safe and effective methods for minimizing your pain and helping you recover quickly and safely. To ease your mind as you prepare for surgical anesthesia, you may want to ask your anesthesia team the following questions:

  1. What kind of anesthesia will I have?

  2. How long will it take for the anesthesia to wear off?

  3. Am I at risk for any adverse effects to the anesthesia?

  4. How will my pain be managed after surgery?

Our providers

close up view of a man’s arm while having anesthesia at hospital

Expert anesthesiology care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our anesthesiologists.

Our locations

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MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Harbor Hospital

3001 S. Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital

25500 Point Lookout Rd.
Leonardtown, MD 20650

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC, 20007

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, D.C., 20010

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Timonium

2118 Greenspring Dr.
Ste. 200
Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093

MedStar Surgery Center

1133 21st St., NW
10th Floor Suite 1000
Washington, D.C., 20036

MedStar Health: Medical Center at Brandywine

13950 Brandywine Rd.
Brandywine, MD 20613