Endoscopy anesthesia is not always necessary, but when anesthesia is used for this procedure, there are four basic types. Conscious sedation allows the patient to remain awake and verbal during the procedure, although in many cases there will be no recollection of the procedure. Deep sedation helps the patient relax during the procedure without altering the rate of the heartbeat, although breathing assistance is sometimes necessary. Local anesthesia is typically used for both conscious and deep sedation methods. General anesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious during the procedure, although this method is rarely used as a form of endoscopy anesthesia.
Conscious sedation is the most commonly used form of endoscopy anesthesia, and it is used along with a local anesthetic. Medications are given to relax the patient and numb the affected area while allowing the patient to communicate any feelings of discomfort that may be experienced. The endoscopy procedure itself is not usually painful, but the air that is introduced into the intestines during the procedure may sometimes cause mild to moderate discomfort. While some patients choose not to receive any sort of endoscopy anesthesia, most doctors recommend some form of sedation in order to keep the patient as comfortable as possible.
Deep sedation may be chosen as a method of endoscopy anesthesia, especially for those with high levels of anxiety or other preexisting medical conditions. This type of sedation gives many of the same benefits of general anesthesia without the added stress to the heart. A local anesthetic is used, and the patient may need to be connected to a ventilator to ensure proper breathing during the procedure. There is usually little to no recollection of the procedure after the patient awakens from the sedation. Some people are not suitable candidates for this form of sedation, so it is important that the supervising physician is made aware of all health conditions before the procedure.
General anesthesia is rarely used for the endoscopy procedure, although it may be chosen as the best form of endoscopy anesthesia in some cases, especially if there are severe preexisting medical issues present. This type of sedation requires intensive monitoring by the medical staff and carries a higher risk of potential complications than the other forms of endoscopy anesthesia. The patient is completely unconscious during the endoscopy and has no recollection of the experience upon awakening. Any questions or concerns about the best form of anesthesia in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.